Herald on Sunday
Botched stop the pits for van Gisbergen
A disastrous pit-stop caused by a wheel nut that wouldn’t release cost Shane van Gisbergen his seventh victory of the season at the latest Supercars round in Darwin.
Chaz Mostert won a chaotic opener to the Darwin Triple Crown at Hidden Valley yesterday.
Van Gisbergen and Mostert were the beneficiaries of the first-turn drama that wiped out pole-sitter Anton De Pasquale and a number of other contenders.
Starting third, van Gisbergen shadowed De Pasquale on the run to the first turn and forced the polesitter to defend.
Hung out wide, De Pasquale was turned by Scott Pye, and then hit by Mark Winterbottom.
The contact flung De Pasquale into the path of the pack, with Todd Hazelwood worst affected following heavy front-to-front contact.
Hazelwood’s teammate Jack Smith and Team Sydney duo Fabian Coulthard and Garry Jacobson were also involved.
The race was neutralised for six laps for a lengthy clean-up.
Van Gisbergen had a healthy buffer on Mostert when he made his lap 22 pitstop but a stuck nut turned a routine stop into a 30-second nightmare, with the Kiwi rejoining the race at the back of the pack.
Van Gisbergen’s series lead was cut by Jamie Whincup, albeit by just two points to 188, with Mostert closing to within 190 points of the championship leader, who sits on 1156.
The Darwin Triple Crown continues today with two more 38-lap races.