Motorsport: Van Gisbergen takes Supercars championship lead

By Dale Budge

Kiwi driver Shane Van Gisbergen has moved to the top of the Supercars standings after finishing second at the Sandown 500 today.

Holden Racing Team pilot Garth Tander managed to nurse his Holden home in the closing stages as part of the body work on the car peeled back but remained attached enough to the car to avoid being ordered to the pits by race control. He held off a charging Van Gisbergen, who managed to overhaul a 12 second lead going into the final part of the race to catch Tander on the final lap but was unable to find a way past.

Tander, who was partnered by Warren Luff, gets his first win since 2014 and provides a timely boost for the team after the recent announcement that Holden will withdraw its funding at the end of the season.

Van Gisbergen and co-driver Alex Premat mastered the changeable conditions in Melbourne as teams swapped back and forth between wet and dry tyres.

The Kiwi started the day 137 points adrift of his Red Bull Racing teammate Jamie Whincup but a pit stop infringement while co-driver Paul Dumbrell was about to jump out of the car saw the number 88 car handed a drive-through penalty, killing off any chance they had of finishing among the top spots.

Will Davison and Jonathan Webb grabbed third place ahead of New Zealander Scott McLaughlin and David Wall in the Volvo.

Earlier in the day Volvo teammate James Golding was lucky to escape injury after a major accident on lap one of the race.

Golding, who is sharing a drive with fulltime driver James Moffat, had a tyre deflate while travelling in excess of 200km/hr at the end of the back strait and speared off the track and into a tyre bank.

The car was measured moving at 149 km/h at the point of contact with the wall.

Golding, who is driving in the Supercars development series, immediately spoke to his team on the radio and walked from the car. The race was suspended as the track required significant repair from the accident.


Replays showed minimal contact between Golding's Volvo and Jack Perkins' Holden at the first corner and cars jostled for position. The slight touch was enough to damage the tyre on the Volvo and moments later it deflated leaving Golding a passenger as it hurtled towards the barrier.

"The biggest crash I have ever had," Golding said after arriving back in pitlane.

"The front right tyre started losing pressure up the back strait and as soon as I braked it just let go."

Van Gisbergen takes a seven point lead over Whincup in the standings with the Bathurst 1000 the next event on the schedule.


- NZ Herald

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