Van Gisbergen takes victory in Townsville

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Van Gisbergen takes victory in Townsville

Holden’s Shane Van Gisbergen has claimed his third Supercars race of the year with victory in Sunday’s 200km race at Townsville.

The Red Bull Racing star claimed victory by 1.3 seconds ahead of James Courtney, who utilised a late safety car to storm home in a brilliant strategy play.

It means Van Gisbergen is the first driver this season to win three races.

“I was a bit worried after the safety car but I had heaps of grip,” the New Zealander said.

“Stoked. That was a great day.”

Courtney pitted when Andre Heimgartner’s stranded car brought out the safety car with 10 laps to go.

Equipped with a fresher set of tyres than the cars in front of him, the Holden Racing Team ace used his extra grip to charge from ninth to second in just seven laps.

“It’s four years in a row we’ve been second here on Sunday,” the 2010 Supercars champion said.

“The guys did a really good call with the strategy at the end there. I can’t thank them enough.”

Ford’s Mark Winterbottom, who started on pole, came home third after being pipped by Courtney in a final sprint to the finish line.

“Good race, good day and we’ll go home with a relatively straight car and go again,” Winterbottom said.

Saturday race winner Jamie Whincup was fourth and holds a 53-point championship lead over teammate Van Gisbergen going into the next event at Queensland Raceway in Ipswich later this month.

Veteran Craig Lowndes, who has never won a race at Townsville, finished 10th and ends the weekend fourth on the championship standings, 153 points behind leader Whincup.

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