After starting at the back of the pack for the Friday race, Shane van Gisbergen managed to make up 20 places to stand on the third step of the podium by the time the flag was dropped at the end of the race.
Van Gisbergen state the obvious about what he thought about the race at the end of it “I had a lot of fun out there today – the most fun in a race in a long time. I knew today was going to be tough starting at the back. I tried to think like a backmarker and do the opposite as everyone else, but they all started on soft tyres too so that didn’t really work, but we managed to carve through the field in the first few laps.”
“I had a feeling it was going to be quite hard when we put on the hard tyres from what we saw in practice, but not to the extent we were seeing. My tyres were a little better than others, so I kept pushing forward and it worked well for us in the end. Heading into tomorrow’s races, our strategy will change because we’re starting up the front of the grid.
“We’ll have to think about what we do, and I hope other teams adopt different strategies as well, not just soft-hard [tyres], but it will be interesting to see. I’m looking forward to it.”
Team mate Broc Feeney who had crashed out during Thursday managed to bring in a respectable eight despite missing some track time.
IRWIN Racing’s Mark Winterbottom and Hino Racing’s Scott Pye both moved forwards to finish 7th and 11th respectively in the first race of the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400 at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.
Pye, who qualified 24th after a red flag interrupted qualifying session, was forced to start from 25th due to posting a lap outside 105% of the pole position time.
Pye immediately set about a recovery effort claiming five places on the opening lap of the race and moved upwards 11 positions by Lap 3 before pitting for softs.
Pye stalled momentarily on exit of his pit stop before rejoining the field.
Many teams who started on softs experienced blistering on the rear tyres early in the first stint, forcing those who opted to finish on softs to hang on longer and conserve the tyre over the final stint.
Pye rejoined in 15th after his stop and drove 16 laps on the soft tyre, making up four positions to finish just shy of the top ten in 11th place.
Winterbottom went for the opposite strategy and started on the soft tyre before pitting on Lap 9 for the hard compound. The team pulled off a speedy 12.7 second four-tyre stop, the second fastest of the race.
Winterbottom rejoined in ninth position and showed strong speed on both compounds. He made up two spots when other cars had to pit to change their blistered soft tyres to finish 7th.
The tale at the front however was that Chaz Mostert ended up finishing on the top step ahead of David Reynolds and of course Shane van Gisbergen in third.
“Any time you win this category is amazing, the car is getting faster and faster” Mostert said.
“After Tassie, it’s good to get a trophy for the guys and girls at Walkinshaw Andretti United”.