Shane van Gisbergen took a thrilling victory in the second race of the Thrifty Newcastle finale to deny Walkinshaw Andretti United a first victory with its new Ford Mustangs. Van Gisbergen passed Chaz Mostert late on to win the race, defeating Mostert in his own game. The two drivers made contact twice on lap 85, the first at Turn 9 helping van Gisbergen into the lead, which he then held to take the chequered flag by 4.4 seconds. This came only a few hours after van Gisbergen was stripped of his Race 1 win. After the win, he said: “The first one felt like a hollow victory because it wasn’t on the road but this one was pretty cool”. Second place for Mostert ensured he will take a 45-point lead to Albert Park, after Cam Waters made a costly error midway through the race, clipping the wall at Turn 9 and suffering steering arm damage.
Van Gisbergen was delighted with his win, given the circumstances. He said, “It’s been a hell of a day, the first one felt like a hollow victory because it wasn’t on the road but this one was pretty cool”. The Red Bull Ampol Camaro star lost his Race 1 win after being disqualified, but he made a statement in the second race of the Thrifty Newcastle finale. After his victory, he paid tribute to his team, saying “I’m so proud of these guys, they’ve worked so hard all weekend”.
The race saw Walkinshaw Andretti United debut its new Ford Mustangs, but the team could not secure its first win with the new cars. Mostert won the race to Turn 1 versus David Reynolds, with Waters jumping James Golding. After a 20-minute stoppage for wall repairs, Mostert led the field to green, with Reynolds and Waters completing a Ford one-two-three. However, after the first round of pit stops, van Gisbergen was right in the mix, and he began to reel in Mostert’s margin. On lap 85, van Gisbergen made his move at Turn 9 to pass Mostert, with the tyre advantage ultimately showing for the New Zealander.
The victory saw van Gisbergen secure his first win of the season, and it was also the first win for the Chevrolet Camaro in the 2023 Supercars season. Mostert’s second-place finish secured his championship lead going into the next round at Albert Park, but van Gisbergen’s victory was a timely reminder of his championship credentials. With a strong finish to the season, van Gisbergen could still challenge Mostert for the championship, and he will undoubtedly be looking to build on this win going forward.