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SVG Unstoppable In Tassie

Now it’s six. And still counting …

“He’s in a class of his own,” two-time Supercars champion, Marcos Ambrose, said after watching Shane van Gisbergen win again in the first leg of the Tasmania SuperSprint.

“He is on fire at the moment. He is driving unbelievably well,” said Jamie Whincup, who completed a formation finish for Red Bull Ampol Racing. In second. Again.

There was never a question that van Gisbergen would continue his winning run at Symmons Plains once he had dominated qualifying with a margin of three-tenths when most of his rivals were battling over hundredths.

Cam Waters started on the front row with the Monster Mustang, and jumped SvG at the start, but it took The Shark less than 10 laps to hunt him down and he eventually faded all the way back to sixth in a car that was clearly too hard on its tyres.

His misfortune was good news for Anton De Pasquale, who scored his first podium with the Shell V-Power team as he raced his way forward from seventh on the grid.

“I’m happy to be on the podium. It’s good. I think we pitted at the perfect time for that race,” said de Pasquale.

De Pasquale had to out-muscle his team mate Will Power after his tyre stop, and then hold off Chaz Mostert on fresher tyres, but thoroughly deserved third as Mostert and Davison followed him home.

At the bottom of the Top 10, both Team 18 and Erebus Racing had formation finishes after a solid showing, with Mark Winterbottom in front of Scott Pye at a track he likes and Will Brown just in front of Brodie Kostecki after also out-muscling his team mate following his pitstop.

The Tasmanian tussle was relatively predictable, with Nick Percat the only driver to suffer a significant problem with first-lap crash damage, although there was plenty of rubbing and bumping including James Courtney’s attack on the tail of Kostecki’s car in another Boost-branded battle.

But no-one came close to ending van Gisbergen’s record run of wins, and he was as confident as ever leading into the race.

“Should be a bit of fun. All the guys up the front are awesome to race again. I’ll just drive as fast as I can,” SvG said before the start.

Waters knew what he needed to do, and tried, even if he failed.

“I’ve got to get a good start and get track position from there. This year we’ve probably lacked a little bit in the race-car,” Waters said.

“We’ve got to do something different if we want to win it today.”

Following another drubbing, the good news for van Gisbergen’s challengers is that he is predicting a tougher time in the two Sunday sprints in Tasmania.

He knows he will not have enough fresh Dunlop racing rubber to go through the whole day at full speed, although he is still not conceding defeat.

“One of the races tomorrow we’ll struggle. We’ll just have to pick which one,” said van Gisbergen.

Now, if only someone rolls the dice on a big lunge in the one he decides to sacrifice …

Tasmania SuperSprint
Race 1 – 44 laps

1Shane van GisbergenCommodore
2Jamie WhincupCommodore
3Anton de PasqualeMustang
4Chaz MostertCommodore
5Will DavisonMustang
6Cam WatersMustang
7Mark WinterbottomCommodore
8Scott PyeCommodore
9Will BrownCommodore
10Brodie KosteckiCommodore

Championship points:

  1. van Gisbergen, 705; 2. Whincup, -153; 3. Mostert, -183; 4. Waters, -202; 5. Winterbottom, -230; 6. Davison, -254; 7. Kostecki, -340; 8. David Reynolds, -351; 9. Andre Heimgartner, -353; 10. Percat, -366.

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