Shane van Gisbergen has overcome a disastrous start at the Coates Hire Sydney 500 to clinch his first ever Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
The Kiwi looked like he would have to wait at least one more day to seal the title after he was penalised following an incident with reigning Champion Mark Winterbottom early in today’s 250 kilometre race.
But van Gisbergen showed the sort of flair and fight that has been a hallmark of his racing during 2016 as he worked his way back to third place and wrap up the Championship.
Van Gisbergen started the day 191 points ahead of teammates Jamie Whincup. His third place today extends his lead over Whincup to an unassailable 170 points with just one race and 150 points remaining tomorrow.
Van Gisbergen is the first New Zealander to win the Championship since Jim Richards back in 1991.
His Red Bull Racing teammate Jamie Whincup took his seventh chequered flag for the year but it wasn’t enough for him to secure a seventh Championship. In his final event for the Holden Racing Team, Garth Tander finished second.
Scott McLaughlin finished fourth to edge his way past Craig Lowndes into third place in the Championship.
The Coates Hire Sydney 500 will finish tomorrow with the final 250 kilometre race at Sydney Olympic Park.