The opening round of the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship has seen seven Holden Commodores produce top-10 results from today’s 250km feature race at the Superloop Adelaide 500.
Red Bull Holden Racing driver Shane van Gisbergen was the pick of the ZB crop with a solid podium finish followed by both Brad Jones Racing Commodore’s of Tim Slade and Nick Percat in fourth and fifth respectively.
“Thanks to my crew and we’ll come back stronger at the next one,” said van Gisbergen.
“I’ve been really proud of our guys, we’ve been working really hard with the car all weekend and the car was good then (today’s race), it took us all weekend but two thirds, that’s alright.”
On debut with a new team and new Commodore, fan favourite Mark Winterbottom put in arguably the drive of the day, after finishing sixth, from dead last on the grid, with earlier power steering issues keeping him out of qualifying altogether.
“It’s been fantastic, we wanted to come away top ten in the championship and with no damage, because you don’t move forward fixing cars so, there’s no scratches on it and we started last and made twenty spots,” said Winterbottom.
“Great result and the guys are happy, it’s a slow transition but I’m enjoying it.”
Jamie Whincup in the second Red Bull Holden also put in a stellar drive to cross the finish line in seventh, after starting from 12th on the grid.
Erebus Penrite driver David Reynolds was ninth, with youngster and ZB Commodore rookie Todd Hazelwood picking up his best ever Supercars result after earlier making the top-10 shootout, also a Supercars first for the Adelaide local.
“Great day and couldn’t be happier, I can’t thank the whole crew at Matt Stone Racing and Unit (enough) because it was a dream come true today,” said Hazelwood.
“To do the top-ten (shootout) and then finish inside the ten today in the race was special.”
In the opening race of the season, the Red Bull Holden Racing Team placed second and third on the podium, continuing their strong team performance from last year which saw them take the number one spot in the Team’s Championship.
Vying to become the only Supercars driver to win five races in a row, here at the Adelaide 500, Van Gisbergen set out from the second row on the grid to battle the heat, bringing his Red Bull Holden Racing Team Commodore home in third place.
2016 Adelaide 500 champion and local youngster, Percat, had a great showing in front of his home crowd on Saturday, finishing in seventh position, up one spot from where he qualified earlier behind the wheel of his National Pharmacies Commodore.
Reynolds struggled a little bit with his car’s setup in Race 1 but was still able to finish in eighth position and start the season off in a good position.
Winterbottom had a successful outing in his first race for Holden and new team IRWIN Racing, unable to make the shootout but nothing was stopping him putting in a solid performance, coming home in ninth.
James Courtney continued his good form at the Adelaide Street Circuit, rounding out the Top-10 in his Mobil 1 Mega Fuels Racing Commodore, making it six Commodores inside the Top-10 for the opening race of the season.
In the Championship standings, Van Gisbergen sits second with fellow Red Bull Holden teammate Whincup, in third.
Round 2 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship takes crews to the Formula 1® Australian Grand Prix for the Melbourne 400 at the famous Albert Park circuit on March 14-17.