Van Gisbergen wins Race 4 at Albert Park Photo credit: Stone Brothers Racing

Van Gisbergen wins Race 4 at Albert Park Photo credit: Stone Brothers Racing

Shane van Gisbergen has won the final race of the MSS Security V8 Supercars Challenge at the Australian Grand Prix today, but it was Mark Winterbottom who claimed the event and the AUS$100,000 round prize-money.

The SP Tools Racing driver managed his tyres best to beat Holden Racing Team's Garth Tander home by 2.7s and break Winterbottom’s stranglehold in the the non-championship round at Albert Park.

After moving up to third on the opening lap, van Gisbergen opted to make his compulsory pit-stop for soft tyres later than much of the field. Maintaining position behind Tander and Lockwood Racing's Fabian Coulthard when he re-joined the race, the New Zealander then made his speed and fresh rubber count as he grabbed the lead with just three and a half laps to go of the 15-lap race.

“The car has been great all weekend, we didn't quite get the results yesterday which hurt us in the overall points but today it was pretty cool to come out and get a win,” said van Gisbergen.

“Today we decided to run a bit longer on the hard tyres because our softs were not in the best condition. We struggled to do 12 or 13 laps on previous days and that distance is what we needed to do today. I pushed quite hard on the first few laps and I was actually sort of keeping pace with the soft tyre runners. By running those few extra laps on the hards I could go hold a pretty good pace on the softs.

“The biggest thing this weekend was braking so we tried a whole lot of stuff on the car which improved it over the weekend. Tasmania is a big braking circuit so I think a lot of the stuff we learnt here this weekend will transfer there, hopefully.”

Winterbottom finished fifth after a slow start left him out of contention, but with the most points accumulated over the three races that counted to the overall tally, the Orrcon Steel FPR driver claimed overall victory in the round, picking up the AUS$100,000 prize in the process. Van Gisbergen finished second overall ahead of Tander, Will Davison and Coulthard.

“It is great to take the overall win here as last year we were not even close to being in contention,” said Winterbottom.

“Today we tried a few things which really didn't give us the result we expected so I am obviously disappointed not to make a clean sweep but we'll take the win either way. The thing that has made me happiest is my soft tyre pace. If we can carry the improvements we've made to tracks like Hamilton and Ipswich where we struggled last year, we will be looking good for the rest of the year.”

On a different tyre strategy to his main rivals, Davison led the opening nine laps of the race, but the Trading Post FPR driver lost out to Tander, van Gisbergen and Coulthard after his late pitstop finishing fourth ahead of team-mate Winterbottom, David Reynolds (The Bottle-O Racing Team), Lee Holdsworth (IRWIN Racing), Craig Lowndes (TeamVodafone), Todd Kelly (Jack Daniels Racing) and Rick Kelly (Jack Daniels Racing).

After his tap on TeamVodafone's Jamie Whincup triggered Race Three's multi-car pile-up, James Courtney (Holden Racing Team) was hit with a 50-second pit lane penalty. Both he and Whincup failed to complete the race though with Courtney calling it a day with mechanical issues and Whincup retiring with brake problems six laps in.

As a result of yesterday's incident Taz Douglas (Team iSelect) and Karl Reindler (Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing) were forced to withdraw from today's race.

The next race is the Tasmania Challenge at Symmons Plains, Tasmania on 30 March to 1 April.

Race 4 result:

1 Shane   van Gisbergen SP   Tools Racing 15 30:36.8057
2 Garth   Tander Holden   Racing Team 15 30:39.4451
3 Fabian   Coulthard Lockwood   Racing 15 30:39.7507
4 Will   Davison Trading   Post FPR Ford 15 30:40.5031
5 Mark   Winterbottom Orrcon   Steel FPR Ford 15 30:43.1242
6 David   Reynolds The   Bottle-O Racing Team 15 30:48.9838
7 Lee   Holdsworth Irwin   Racing 15 30:51.6639
8 Craig   Lowndes TeamVodafone 15 30:54.3732
9 Todd   Kelly Jack   Daniel's Racing 15 30:54.7796
10 Rick   Kelly Jack   Daniel's Racing 15 30:55.6357
11 Tim   Slade Lucky   7 Racing 15 30:57.1537
12 James   Moffat Team   Norton DJR 15 31:00.1927
13 Steven   Johnson Jim   Beam Racing 15 31:01.0992
14 Jason   Bright Team   BOC 15 31:03.4149
15 Tony   D'Alberto Tony   D'Alberto Racing 15 31:04.8899
16 Steve   Owen V.I.P.   Petfoods 15 31:06.0988
17 Michael   Caruso Fujitsu   Racing GRM 15 31:06.6782
18 Russell   Ingall Supercheap   Auto Racing 15 31:07.8265
19 Dean   Fiore Jim   Beam Racing 15 31:10.1285
20 Greg   Murphy Pepsi   Max Crew 15 31:12.0359
21 Jonathon   Webb Tekno   Autosports 15 31:13.6723
22 Michael   Patrizi Tekno   Autosports 15 31:18.7813
23 Alexandre   Premat Fujitsu   Racing GRM 15 31:31.5891
DNF David   Wall Wilson   Security Racing 14 29:12.9071
DNF Jamie   Whincup TeamVodafone 6 12:48.9273
DNF James   Courtney Holden   Racing Team 5 11:02.6330