Shane van Gisbergen secures Tasmania opener

Defending champion Shane van Gisbergen became Supercars’ first two-time winner of the 2022 season after coming from the third row of the grid to take the honors in the opening race at Symmons Plains.

Qualifying had seen Cam Waters grab pole in the Monster Energy Mustang and he was able to hold on to the lead when the lights went out despite Will Davison’s best efforts in turn two – who then came under pressure from Brodie Kostecki.

Kostecki managed to pull ahead and briefly bid for the lead before Davison fought back to reclaim second place, while behind van Gisbergen cleared teammate Broc Feeney to move into fourth.

Early skirmishes further down the field saw Thomas Randle, Nick Percat and Jack Le Brocq all run into trouble, with the latter suffering suspension damage that would force him back into the pits.

As the field shuffled around the short 2.4km circuit, van Gisbergen managed to edge Kostecki into third, then made a move on Davison to grab second at the hairpin; the pair making contact off the corner as the Holden advanced.

Meanwhile, points leader Chaz Mostert was working his way into the top ten, although Anton de Pasquale – who also suffered a poor qualifying session – found himself losing ground, which forced him to an early stop as the DJR team rolled the dice on strategy.

Will Brown and David Reynolds also stopped early, the latter immediately setting the fastest lap of the race in clear air before the main players took turns to intervene.

Kostecki was the first of the leading pack to stop when he crashed out of fourth place at the end of lap 15 and moments later the race lead changed when van Gisbergen slipped inside of Waters in the hairpin. As with Davison, a slight contact on the exit destabilized the car ahead, with van Gisbergen completing the long-term move to turn five.

Waters opted to look for fresh tires almost immediately with Davison already in, and a quicker save from DJR saw Davison jump ahead, with van Gisbergen then diving as Triple Eight responded.

Although Davison’s save was quicker, van Gisbergen was able to join just ahead of the Falcon to retain the lead, with Waters dropping to third and Kosetecki to fourth. Scott Pye and Feeney complete the top six.

De Pasquale’s early stop had seen him climb to seventh with Mostert also in the top ten, but the points leader then ran into trouble with eight laps to go when he had nowhere to go when Mark Winterbottom tagged Reynolds in the pin.

Damage to the front right of Mostert’s car forced him into the pits, knocking him off the lead lap and costing him valuable points in the championship chase.

Up front however, van Gisbergen was able to pull away from Davison to grab the win by nearly three seconds, with Waters having to settle for third place having been unable to convert his pole. Kostecki, Feeney and a recovering de Pasquale round out the top six

Mostert would end up seeded 23rd, ahead of only Percat and Le Broq, and drop to fifth in points as a result. Van Gisbergen now holds the pitstop, 17 ahead of de Pasquale heading into the two remaining races of the weekend on Sunday.