SVG wins in Mustang Country; Wildcards threaten driver market turmoil: Bend winners and losers

Any hope the season’s next stop will interrupt Shane van Gisbergen’s march to a third title, which was blown out of the water by the defending champion’s most comprehensive performance to date.

Van Gisbergen scored the maximum points in three races at Tellem Bend, not only easily extending his championship lead, but also unquestionably dispensing with the specter of some tracks being built for the Mustang instead of his ever-reliable Commodore.

If the title race is supposed to be the hottest of the last five races of the year, the heat is almost exclusively coming from the defending champions.

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But in the process of whitewashing the weekend Giz and his would-be title rivals put on the spectacle of wet-weather driving in one of the most captivating displays of driving we’re likely to get this year that really was a little bit of everything. – Wheel-to-wheel action, strategy threats and even squeezing inside the car.

Even as the championship fight fades into the haze of van Gisbergen supremacy, it has the potential to surprise.

Winners: Shane van Gisbergen and Holden

The last time Shane van Gisbergen turned on a ‘boggy’ circuit, he won two out of three races and extended his championship lead while mocking his so-called Perth Hoodoo.

This weekend they faced a circuit bill all week as the Mustang home field Ford chassis had won 10 of the 13 races since the track’s inception four years ago.

And this time he went one better.

He not only won, he dominated. Won all three races, all three collected the fastest laps and scored maximum points, adding 315 to their growing championship lead.

And given how freely he’s won this season—it was his fifth in a row, better than only his six-race streak to open last year’s campaign—his low in the pole challenge It is difficult to make any sense out of representation.

SVG and Triple Eight are trained with only one purpose: to collect points.

It was a weekend when the Geese were at their best. His first two races were defined by some exceptional tire whisking to extend his opening stint into long overcuts, maintaining a field-best pace without any apparent grip drop-off.

The third was one of the most exciting track sessions of the year, with heavy rain making the track treacherous and showcasing just how good the frontrunners are.

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It should come as no surprise that the race’s nailbiting opening stanza was a fight between Cameron Waters, Anton de Pasquale, and Gisbergen. Chase Mostart would have undoubtedly been in the mix, but for the circumstances, and even Brock Feeney was involved – a reminder of the rookie’s great potential.

But it was essentially van Gisbergen who broke the deadlock to take the decisive lead and sweep over the weekend. The rest may be good, but Kiwi is operating on an entirely different level.

A third title is fast becoming an irresistible conclusion, and while in fact van Gisbergen can claim his appetite is already sated, his three wins are enough for Holden to claim the manufacturers’ championship.

Commodores have claimed 18 races in five of the Falcons this year, with only 11 races remaining. Van Gisbergen won 11 of them, with the remainder coming from Chez Mostart.

This is Red Lion’s 23rd honor and final title for the Australian brand in the history of the Australian Touring Car Championship, to be taken back at the end of the season by parent company General Motors, to be replaced by the Camaro.

SVG won race 21 at The Bend. 01:05

Loser: Championship Challengers

Cameron Waters said before the start of the weekend that it was “now or never” for him to start with Van Gisbergen’s title lead.

You can fill in for yourself which ending we got.

Van Gisbergen has broken the 300-point spell and has a full round clear at the top of the standings. He is now 393 points ahead of Waters on the table.

This is up from 274 points before the bend.

Not only did none of the challengers win the race—obviously, but the bare minimum was needed to close the gap with only five rounds remaining—but they shared only two podiums between them for the entire weekend.

Waters finished second in the final race, taking both Sunday’s poles. Will Davison was runner-up on Saturday, before poor qualifying on Sunday afternoon left him in 13th place, while Anton de Pasquale finished in the top five for the weekend in another inconclusive round for DJR.

Chase Mostart took two podiums for himself, but leading by 684 points, you have to be extremely ambitious to call him a contender at this point.

The old adage that you don’t start counting points until Bathurst, when you can spend 300 points in a jiffy, is quickly becoming irrelevant. This weekend itself, he extended his lead to 119 points. If he wanted to continue that trajectory, though it was unlikely to happen, by the time we got to the Mountain and were ready to claim the championship, he was 631 points clear.

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Image: Mark Horsberg Source: Supplied

Winners: Safety Progress, Tom Randall and Andre Heimgartner

Think wet weather and Tellem Bend and you remember Andre Heimgartner’s first win in South Australia last season.

Of course from now on you’ll be thinking of his monster start-line smash with Thomas Randall on Saturday afternoon.

Randall stopped when the lights were off and was stranded helplessly on the front row of the grid as the rest of the field attempted to navigate around him. Not all of them did, and in a Heimgartner 38G collision at 120 kilometers per hour Tickford fell into the back of the car. Nick Perkat was also collected as he attempted to smash and slip through the pit wall.

Both drivers felt pain, but apparently no injuries, although both were sent to hospital for a precautionary scan after reporting pain.

However, less can be said about their cars, which had no chance of participating in Sunday’s finale, even though the drivers were fit.

But it seems like nothing worse than sporting two written-off chassis from such a horrific crash is a huge testament to the never-ending march toward a safer supercar.

You don’t have to think so long to remember this type of crash ending in a fireball. The 2011 Perth Smash between Carl Reindler and Steve Owen was forced by almost identical circumstances, but an explosion occurred when the fuel cell broke down spectacularly.

The so-called ‘Car of the Future’ regulations, introduced in the middle of the last decade, moved the fuel tank forward from the rear axle, and the tanks themselves became significantly stronger. As a result, such an accident that occurred on Saturday afternoon resulted in only kinetic damage.

This was one of several safety improvements under those regulations, along with standards and procedures for continuously improving driver equipment – ​​helmets, overalls, HANS devices, etc.

Safety will again take a big step forward with Gen3 cars, which pay special attention to the driver’s position in the car when introduced next season.

Motorsport can always be made safer, and some drivers noted after the race that the stalled car warning system did not alert them to Randall’s stalled car before they had already cleared straight. Some people could not even see the flags raised on the wall of the pit, indicating a stopped car.

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Undoubtedly these issues would be acted upon, after every major accident an investigation into what could be improved – the same procedural system that delivered the cars that Heimgartner and Randall were able to drive unaided and far from perfect.

Losers: Squeeze Sellers

The harsh climatic conditions inside and outside the car were also tough, with windscreen fog proving problematic for many during the evening race.

Brad Jones Racing had a very rudimentary but undeniably effective solution: for Macauley Jones to use a squeegee in a car when he was not busy driving the car.

He was surprisingly penalized for having a loose unit in the cockpit, which is dangerously close to double penetration.

BJR insisted that the squeeze was fixed to the car rather than loosened, but the argument held to water with the stewards.

This is not the first time such a solution has been used. Triple Eight famously deployed the same solution at Bathurst in 2017, arguing that a demister would have added unnecessary weight.

The technology was later outlawed, so it was a surprise to see the squeegee brake cover again.

Macauley Jones uses a squeeze during the race. Source: Fox Sports

Winner: Zak Best

Finally, word should go to Tickford wildcard Zak Best, who scored a scintillating second singles round of his supercar career on Saturday.

Better still, the 20-year-old showed no signs of being too quick to run in such a high position, finishing seventh.

Best attempted to make a better impression at Tellem Bend after a weak wildcard debut at Darwin, and there is no doubt that he made good on that commitment, even in those early-batch softs. With shadows that were threatening to mark their pole as unregulated.

The question is, where to go for the best?

The Benalla native is fifth in the Super2 standings with three podiums, and although the Tickford team rates him, there is no clear path for him into the team – except for rumors that James Courtney’s multi-year deal with the team is dependent on full-time The sponsor is taking him to next season.

If that really could happen, Best’s best efforts this weekend wouldn’t have done him any harm.

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