SYDNEY — NASCAR-bound New Zealander Shane van Gisbergen has won Australia’s most prestigious auto race, the Bathurst 1000, for the second straight year and third time overall.
Van Gisbergen and Kiwi co-driver Richie Stanaway drove their Red Bull Camaro to a 19.9-second win Sunday over Australians Brodie Kostecki and Dave Russell in the 60th anniversary edition of the race on the Mount Panorama circuit. Anton de Pasquale and Tony D’Alberto were third, 33 seconds behind Van Gisbergen.
With the win, Van Gisbergen cut Kostecki’s overall lead in the Supercars championship to 131 points.
Van Gisbergen and Stanaway started from sixth on the grid in the Triple Eight Racing car in warm dry conditions Sunday. Kostecki was on pole in the Coca-Cola Chevrolet, and De Pasquale was fifth in a Ford Mustang.
Van Gisbergen led for most of the second half of the six-hour race and had a mostly trouble-free day, though he complained of a soft brake pedal after one pit stop and had a minor steering glitch on the final laps.
He made his final pit stop for gas and tires with 13 laps remaining, went into the pits with a good lead over Kostecki and came out with his lead intact.
Stanaway, who stood on the Bathurst podium for the first time, called the last 60 laps of the race the longest two hours of his life.
“We weren’t the fastest car all week, but we worked on the car and Richie did a stellar job,” Van Gisbergen said. “I’m really going to miss it. I love this place, and I’ll be back.”
The 34-year-old Van Gisbergen became the first driver since 1963 to win in his NASCAR debut when he took the Grant Park 200 road race in Chicago earlier this year, driving the No. 91 car for Trackhouse Racing. He also placed 10th on the Indianapolis road course in a race in which Kostecki finished 22nd.
Van Gisbergen has signed to join Trackhouse full-time next year in all three NASCAR series.
Sunday’s race will likely be his last at Bathurst, and he will finish the Supercars season in Australia before heading to the United States.