After not seeing Supercars action in Perth since 2019, the Perth crowds were out in force with late restriction relaxations by the West Australian Government meaning an extra ticket sale gave fans who missed out more opportunities to see their favourite drivers in action.
Opening the ledger for the Supercars championship on Saturday, Cameron Waters topped the charges with a 53.9891 lap with Anton De Pasquale behind by 0.1724. From 1st to 25th the gap was 1.3059 seconds.
The Red Bulls of van Gisbergen and Broc Feeney had mixed results with van Gisbergen finishing 13th and Feeney back at 25th.
As the track warmed up so did the times with the Shell V-Power Racing duo of Will Davison and Anton De Pasquale topping the charts with a 53.9093 and 53.9397 respectively. The time between 1st and 25th was reduced from 1.3059 seconds to 1.0143.
Shane van Gisbergen found pace and brought it in 3rd ahead of the Truck Assist Racing duo of Jack Le Brocq and Todd Hazelwood. Teammate Feeney was back in 14th having improved from Practice 1.
Moving into qualifying, it was De Pasquale’s turn to lead the pack with a time of 53.5982 around Wanneroo Raceway. The split between 1st and 25th, 0.8373. Who was at the back? Nick Percat. Both him and his teammate Chaz Mostert not finding pace in the Mobile 1 cars much to the surprise of everyone up and down the grid.
Cameron Waters finished 0.1082 seconds behind De Pasquale with van Gisbergen coming in 3rd. The pace however was off the 2019 record for Practice/Qualifying set by Scott McLaughlin after the track had been resurfaced.
As the sun came down, the fires started – thankfully just track side as part of the show – and the 25 drivers lined up ready to tackle the 46 laps ahead of them.
On the first lap Chris Pither and Bryce Fullwood came together in the middle of Turn 1 but both continued on racing albeit at the back of the pack.
46 laps later, pit stops had, van Gisbergen finished ahead of De Pasquale by a whopping 2.4 seconds.
Speaking after the race, van Gisbergen reflected on the race “It’s good to finally win in Perth. The car has been so good today – I haven’t had such a good car at this place in both qualifying and the race. I was a bit worried at the start because Anton (de Pasquale) and Cam (Waters) were very quick, and I wasn’t saving my tyres at all – I was pushing really hard, so I was a bit worried. They pulled away then they came back a bit and then pitted. I was surprised by how much tyre life I had so I kept going.”
“The car felt a bit funky putting two tyres on that late, especially the way it was braking, and I was a bit right-hand-down for a while, but it was a really cool win. It was cool to win for Holden and General Motors. Obviously, Holden isn’t with us anymore, but it’s still great to represent them in their final year on the Supercars grid.”
“It was super cool racing back under lights as well. It’s difficult to see in some areas, but much better then in 2019. When you’re following someone and you see all of the sparks coming out of their brakes and seeing disks glowing coming out of the corners is awesome. Hopefully we put on a good show for all of the fans out there tonight.”