Van Gisbergen wins chaotic Darwin race

Shane van Gisbergen avoided chaos and carnage to win the final Supercars race in Darwin.

The 70-lap sprint started and ended in madness, with five cars forced to retire and one driver hospitalised.

Holden’s Van Gisbergen started from pole position but lost the lead before the first turn of a dramatic opening lap at Hidden Valley Raceway on Sunday.

The Fords of Chaz Mostert and Fabian Coulthard were ripped to parts after a three-way tussle with Volvo’s James Moffat, ending their afternoons early.

Moments later, Lee Holdsworth’s Holden was bumped off track at high speed and smashed sideways into a concrete barrier.

He suffered a suspected broken leg and was taken to Royal Darwin Hospital for treatment.

The incidents sparked the first of three safety car periods – a record at the circuit in Supercars history.

Restarts, varying pitstop strategies and driver mistakes saw the lead change several times during the race.

But van Gisbergen held his nerve and steered his Red Bull Racing Commodore to victory, ahead of fellow Holden drivers Tim Slade and Craig Lowndes.

It was his second win of the season, following a triumph in Tasmania, and 13th of his career.

“Amazing day,” said van Gisbergen, relieved after a mistake cost him victory from pole on Saturday.

“It’s been great all weekend.”

Six-time champion Jamie Whincup cemented his lead on top of the championship standings with an eighth-place.

He now leads teammate Lowndes by 30 points, with Volvo’s Scott McLaughlin third.

It was a disastrous afternoon for reigning champion Mark Winterbottom, who damaged his car after running into the back of Todd Kelly’s Nissan and then copped a drive-through penalty over the incident.

He was later involved in a crash with Aaren Russell.

He finished 20th and slips back to fourth in the drivers’ standings. He led the series before this round.

The championship heads to Townsville next month.

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