Shane van Gisbergen will bow out of Supercars as a three-time Bathurst 1000 champion after becoming the first driver in 15 years to secure consecutive wins at Mount Panorama.
The defending Supercars champion backed up his Bathurst triumph with Garth Tander last year, combining with Richie Stanaway this year to be the first all-New Zealand pair to win the race since Greg Murphy and Steven Richards in 1999.
Starting from sixth on the grid on Sunday, Van Gisbergen and Stanaway tore away to upstage Brodie Kostecki and clinch victory over the red-hot favourite by almost 21 seconds.
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Kostecki, the championship leader, started from pole after a record-breaking shootout win, but Van Gisbergen’s experience and class won out in the 161-lap race, witnessed by the third biggest crowd in Bathurst history.
The victory was the first consecutive victory at Bathurst since Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes claimed a third straight crown together in 2008.
Ford’s fears of more Chevrolet dominance were proved correct as Triple Eight young gun Broc Feeney appeared destined to join Van Gisbergen and Kostecki for an all-Camaro podium.
But Feeney was left heartbroken and in tears after experiencing gearbox issues on lap-137 when the 20-year-old and Whincup were placed second.
Shell V-Power Anton De Pasquale was the first Ford driver across the line in third.
Van Gisbergen’s 80th career win, and fifth of the season, keeps him well in contention to claim a third-straight Supercars title.
It has been an era of dominance from Van Gisbergen, who has won three of the past four Bathurst 1000s after first triumphing during the Covid-effected 2020 season.
Shane van Gisbergen drives the Red Bull Ampol Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in at Mount Panorama in New South Wales. Photograph: Dan Himbrechts/AAP
The 34-year-old will head to the US at season’s end to drive full-time in NASCAR, after scoring a stunning win on debut in Chicago in July.
In the first Bathurst of the Gen3, post-Commodore era, Van Gisbergen’s victory made it 21 of 24 wins to Camaro this season, with no Ford car saluting in multiple races.
Van Gisbergen’s win was salt into the wounds of Ford teams, who were left fuming after Supercars rejected technical adjustments to the Mustangs just days before Australia’s most famous motor race.
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Ford’s great hope Cam Waters was out of contention after lap-70 after a crash by his co-driver James Moffat.
Waters, who has started in the top-three for the past five years at Mount Panorama, will remain searching for an elusive victory in the great race.
Moffat caused the third safety car of the 161-lap race after smashing into a wall at The Dipper.
He had to be towed into the garage after the car stopped just before pit-lane and they failed to finish, along with Brad Jones Racing duo Andre Heimgartner and Dale Wood.
Supercars legend Craig Lowndes’ hopes of a surprise victory in his 30th Bathurst 1000 race came to an abrupt halt after 18 laps.
The seven-time Bathurst winner was forced into the pits due to a broken gear lever mount.
The Triple Eight wildcard entry was able to get back on track but not even the incomparable Lowndes could ever make up so much ground and he finished 26th.