Shane van Gisbergen has continued his love affair with Sydney Olympic Park, winning the final race of the 2015 season and his last with TEKNO.
He led home his soon-to-be teammate Jamie Whincup by 0.4 seconds, winning his third consecutive Sunday race at the street circuit.
The Kiwi appeared lucky to avoid investigation after an early incident with pole sitter and then-leader James Courtney at turn nine. Courtney hit the tyres, dropped to fourth and struggled with damage to the rear for the rest of the 74-lap race, ultimately finishing 12th.
Rick Kelly in his Nissan Altima made it home third, with Champion Mark Winterbottom fourth.
“Thanks to my team here, it’s an awesome way to finish – thanks for a great three years,” van Gisbergen said getting out the car, after congratulating Winterbottom on his title win.
A heavy hit for Tim Slade triggered the safety car on lap 11, ending the Supercheap Auto driver’s last run with the Walkinshaw squad.
The front-runners dove into the pits for the first of two required pit stops. It was disaster for Nissan, with James Moffat’s wing catching and pulling down the pit boom, after Will Davison’s wheel nut wandered into the fast last several laps before.
Van Gisbergen controlled the race with Whincup, Kelly and Winterbottom in tow. While there was some action in the pack – including a gutsy pass from Garth Tander in between Fabian Coulthard and Scott Pye – it was business as usual for ‘SVG’ at the front in Sydney.
A sixth-place finish for Craig Lowndes means Red Bull will win its sixth straight teams championship, as Steve Owen (standing in for injured Chaz Mostert) failing to finish and triggering the Safety Car, bunching the V8 Supercars up and releasing them with five laps to go.
An incident with David Wall and Chris Pither ended Wall’s full-time career after a strong run in qualifying this morning.
Whincup pushed in the closing laps, but van Gisbergen drove it home, taking his second race win of 2015.
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Winterbottom will be awarded the Championship trophy this evening, after beating Craig Lowndes by 238 points.