You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Van Gisbergen claims Supercars win

NZN 4/03/2017 Laine Clark

New season. Same old result.

Defending series champion Shane van Gisbergen has picked up where he left off in 2016, claiming victory in the Supercars season opener in Adelaide on Saturday.

Pole sitter van Gisbergen finished almost 15 seconds ahead of Ford's Fabian Coulthard with Holden's James Courtney third in sweltering conditions on the tough 3.2km street circuit.

Flying Kiwi van Gisbergen broke Red Bull Racing (RBR) Holden teammate Jamie Whincup's race lap record of one minute, 21.05 seconds on his way to victory in the scorching 78-lap opener.

It was the 20th career win for SVG.

The opening round concludes with another 250km event on Sunday.

"What a great first day. Awesome race, great strategy and hopefully we can do it again tomorrow," van Gisbergen said.

Dunlop claimed "all" lap records would come under threat this year after introducing a faster - yet durable - soft control tyre this season.

And van Gisbergen didn't waste time entering his name in the record books in Adelaide.

He celebrated with a trademark burnout in front of the packed Adelaide venue - much to his regret afterwards.

"We probably should have got some tyre data from that but you have to have some fun," van Gisbergen laughed.

Van Gisbergen maintained Holden's dominance despite pressure from new Ford threat, Coulthard's DJR Team Penske.

All eyes are on the Ford powerhouse this year after ex-Volvo gun Scott McLaughlin linked with fellow Kiwi Coulthard following a career high third placing last year.

Pressure is building on DJR Team Penske - backed by US motorsport great Roger Penske - to break RBR's vice-like championship grip.

RBR have claimed five of the last six drivers' championships.

And Holden has won every race in Adelaide since 2013.

Coulthard showed he was up for the fight, reeling in van Gisbergen by turn seven of the first of the opening race's 78 laps.

However, van Gisbergen claimed the lead after Coulthard pitted on lap 41 and didn't look back.

"We have a small mountain to climb but we will work at our own pace," Coulthard said of the RBR threat.

Ex-Volvo gun McLaughlin finished 17th, never recovering from a lap 30 drive through penalty for a safety car infringement while placed in fifth.

While van Gisbergen was all smiles, his Holden teammate - six-time series champion Jamie Whincup - had some food for thought.

He finished sixth more than 24 seconds behind SVG.

The Kiwi's dominant victory snapped Whincup's streak of winning every season opening race since 2014.

Reigning Bathurst champion Will Davison was one of two who failed to finish after hitting the wall on turn eight on the very first lap.

The brutally hot cabin conditions nudging 70 degrees claimed an exhausted Taz Douglas by lap 50.

The Holden driver was pulled from the car by his crew after "talking gibberish" during a pit stop following a cool suit failure.

Douglas who was a last minute entry to help out old mate Lucas Dumbrell's Holden team.

Dumbrell would have been fined up to $200,000 if he did not field a second car in Adelaide after youngster Matt Chahda failed to receive a Superlicense.

Dumbrell's other driver - Alex Rullo - became the youngest ever Supercars driver on Saturday.

He finished second last.

Supercars first fulltime female driver Simona de Silvestro finished 20th.

Meanwhile, a stunt rider was hospitalised with suspected spinal injuries after an on-track accident before the season opener.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon