Australian Supercars Mount Panorama 500 Race 2 Review

As the series leaves Bathurst, who has started their season strongly?

6w ago
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It has been a perfect weekend for Van Gisbergen, as he kicks off the year with two wins, but when you look deeper there are signs that this could be a good year for the title battle.

We went into this year expecting Shayne to be one of the main title contenders, but no one thought he could start the year this strong; the car just looks so smooth and nice to drive, which is very worrying for the others. The big question is, can he keep the momentum up as they go around Australia and New Zealand, we saw glimpses of this pace last year, however it was the consistency which stopped him from challenging McLaughlin. If he can maintain it, then this could be an incredible year for him!

Waters was really able to bounce back from the power steering pump failure yesterday, as we thought, he had the second fastest car this weekend, and was only able to hold back Shayne for so long. He was once again able to get a brilliant start, which allowed him to control Turn 1, and made the race slightly more interesting. The call to stay out longer on the first stint was where the race was lost, if they had pitted with Van Gisbergen or earlier, they could have offset the Holden’s pace advantage. The result in Race 1 may have really hurt his title chances, he just needs to keep fighting at the front and hope for other drivers to have unreliability too!

Mostert could leave Bathurst as the strongest contender to Shayne in the championship, the two podiums show how strong the team is, even if he couldn’t challenge those two in front really. Qualifying seems to be the current issue with Chaz, he was unable to hook up the lap he needed to be on the front two rows and get amongst the lead battle early on. If that gets fixed, as well as some more pure car pace, he could be a real threat as the season goes on.

DJR has clearly taken a step back from last year, probably due to a mix of new drivers and team changes, but if they want to go for the title, they need to step up soon. Having said that DJR were not amazing in the 1000 last year, so it may be a carry over from that. De Pasquale is heading towards a team leader role, as many people predicted, the youngster should have the pace when he unlocks the full potential of the package he has. Nevertheless, having both cars comfortably in the top ten is a good start to the year.

Winterbottom was able to back up his top 5 in Race 1 with another one, he is looking really at home with the IRWIN Racing squad, and could be able to build to something even better. He is going to have his work cut out though to match those ahead of him.

Whincup once again battled back from a less than optimal qualifying spot, however with his teammate so strong, the chances of him leaving the sport with the title, are slimmer than we may have predicted pre-season. That being said you can never count a driver like him out, I am sure he still has a few tricks up his sleeve.

Courtney was caught out in a very similar way to what De Pasquale was yesterday, the good news for Tickford is that he hit the wall nowhere near as badly, and was able to limp back to the pits.

The teams now head on to Sandown in three weeks’ time, with the question being can anyone challenge Triple Eight, or can Van Gisbergen keep the run going?

-M

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