Defending Virgin Australia Supercars Champion Shane Van Gisbergen has claimed the first victory of the 2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, winning the first race of the Clipsal 500 Adelaide.
Fabian Coulthard (Shell V-Power Racing Team) finished second and James Courtney (Mobil 1 HSV Racing) finished third to round out today’s podium finishes.
Van Gisbergen, started the first race from ARMOR ALL Pole Position, after a scintillating lap during today’s Top Ten Shootout. However that didn’t stop Coulthard from overtaking the defending champion on the opening lap after he started at second.
Van Gisbergen said the race was a tight affair, after his slow start and he had to fight his way back to the front.
“My car really had nothing on that first lap, Fabian pulled a nice move out of [turn] seven and I let him go into eight, but it took a long time for my tyres to warm up,” he said.
“We got clear air for the last quarter and really pushed on and the car was awesome the whole way.”
Coulthard held onto the lead until a pit stop helped Van Gisbergen reclaim the lead midway through the race, a position he held onto for the rest of the race.
He said there’s plenty to take out of today heading into tomorrow’s 250km second race.
“We gave it our best shot and I feel like we maximised our package today and second was pretty much all it had,” Coulthard said.
Two -time Clipsal 500 Adelaide winner, Courtney, set a new race lap record as he pushed through the pack on his way to his third placing. Van Gisbergen then broke that lap record as he powered away from the rest of the field. Courtney said he had his chance to move through the pack early on.
“Got a good start and thought ‘here we go’ got on the outside but thought better of it,” Courtney said.
“It could have been a lot different if we’d got past, but it never happened.”
Van Gisbergen will now be looking for a strong finish tomorrow in a bid to claim his second Clipsal 500 title.
The Virgin Australia Supercars will be back on track again tomorrow for qualifying (10:50am), the Top 10 shootout (12:10pm) and Race 2 (3:20pm). All times are local.