Van Gisbergen wins overall V8 GP honours

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Van Gisbergen wins overall V8 GP honours

Shane van Gisbergen has proved himself a real contender for this year’s V8 Supercars title after scoring a hat-trick of wins at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix.

The Holden driver claimed overall honours – but no points – for the non-championship round at Melbourne’s Albert Park, marking an impressive start with his new team Red Bull Racing.

Teammate Craig Lowndes finished second overall, with DJR Team Penske’s Fabian Coulthard in third.

Van Gisbergen took out the first two of four exhibition races on Friday and Saturday, before winning a third in the final sprint on Sunday.

Teammate Jamie Whincup was victorious in race three, earning the team a cleansweep of the event.

Until this weekend, the Triple Eight-run outfit hadn’t won at Albert Park since 2011.

But they dominated this year with at least two drivers on the podium in each race, and twice achieved a 1-2-3.

They almost repeated it on Sunday with stablemate Craig Lowndes finishing third, but lost Whincup – who was fighting for a top-three spot – to a mechanical issue.

“It’s a bit of a shame to not get another 1-2-3, but that’s the way it goes,” said van Gisbergen.

“The car’s been amazing this weekend. The team’s done a great job.”

Reigning champion Mark Winterbottom endured a tough outing, finishing 21st, 12th and 11th in the final two races.

With only one championship round completed, the season-opening Clispal 500, van Gisbergen said it was hard to predict who would be leading the charge in 2016 despite Triple Eight’s dominance.

“It’s so close this year, there’s been no real standouts,” the Kiwi said.

“There were so many fast guys in Adelaide, it’s pretty hard to tell who’s going to be good at the moment.

“We might have to wait a couple of rounds till we see.”

The drivers next head to Tasmania for the second round of the championship from April 1.

PODIUM WINNERS AT THE AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX

RACE ONE:

1. Shane van Gisbergen (Holden)

2. Jamie Whincup (Holden)

3. Chaz Mostert (Ford)

RACE TWO:

1. Shane van Gisbergen (Holden)

2. Craig Lowndes (Holden)

3. Jamie Whincup (Holden)

RACE THREE:

1. Jamie Whincup (Holden)

2. Shane van Gisbergen (Holden)

3. Craig Lowndes (Holden)

RACE FOUR:

1. Shane van Gisbergen (Holden)

2. Fabian Coulthard (Ford)

3. Craig Lowndes (Holden)

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