Newcastle 500, Shane van Gisbergen, protest, details, dry ice, race one winner, Camaro, Flips Off rival, Mac Jones, Red Bull Racing, Triple Eight
Shane van Gisbergen’s stunning Supercars season-opening win is threatened as it is confirmed a protest has been lodged over his team’s chilling tactics.
An official complaint is understood to have been made about Triple Eight’s use of dry ice during the team’s double win in Newcastle on Saturday.
According to Supercars rules, cooling systems “must be mounted in the cockpit using the attachment points provided in the GSD for the passenger seat”.
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Van Gisbergen has been a vocal critic of the pedal box heat in the new Gen3 Camaro this weekend, complaining that his feet were “burning” during Friday’s practice session.
Rival Chaz Mostert called the heat inside the cars a “duty of care” as racing officials later confirmed teams could add more heat protection in the cockpit ahead of the season opener.
However, whether or not dry ice will be considered part of this additional protection is still under investigation.
Red Bull Racing made no secret of the use of dry ice during van Gisbergen’s pit stop, with the product visible in the pit lane as they discussed it on team radio.
It is now expected that there will be a stewards’ hearing on Saturday night, with the possibility of the race outcome being altered should there be a successful outcome.
It is still unclear who filed the official protest.
FULL RACE REVIEW:
It’s a new era, the same Shane van Gisbergen in Supercars with the reigning champion set to contest the first race of 2023 at Newcastle.
But the Kiwi superstar didn’t have everything his way in the season opener after starting from sixth place and feeling frustrated by lapped rival Macauley Jones – so much so that he knocked him out when he finally lapped him.
Van Gisbergen has made no secret that he struggled in the new Camaro due to the more cramped cabin and the heat conditions he endured.
But nothing could stop the 33-year-old as his 76th race win became the first for the Camaro in the new Supercars format.
The Kiwi superstar quickly finished the field from sixth place when his Red Bull Ampol Racing team decided to make a quick refueling stop to give him an early lead.
And from there, van Gisbergen used his open air to claim victory from teammate Broc Feeney and Cam Waters.
Remarkably, it is the third year in a row that van Gisbergen has won the first race of the year.
Van Gisbergen’s former teammate and now Fox Motorsport commentator Garth Tander said Red Bull’s early fuel strategy was the difference.
“Shane filled just enough to jump out in front of them,” he said.
“Then he sat on the front and drove out of the way of the road. From that point on, I just knew Shane had the race covered.
“He did a great job.”
Supercars legend Mark Skaife said the rivals must focus on getting under van Gisbergen’s skin if they are to beat him in 2023.
“If you give it clean air, it’s gone,” he lamented.
“You have to park in front of him. You can’t walk around here – we know it!
“Make sure you park a car in front of him – that’s the only way you’ll beat him!”
Van Gisbergen sent an ominous warning to rivals after the race as he expected his car to go faster on Sunday.
“I’ve never felt comfortable in this car and the team has done everything to make it better for me,” he said.
“I feel like a wobbler in the car.
“It’s never perfect.”
Van Gisbergen’s victory was the first championship win by a Chevrolet driver since Kevin Bartlett at Oran Park in 1982.
It was also the fifth time in seven seasons since 2017 that the New Zealander had won the opening race of a season.
It was only the second time that a full race had gone completely green at Newcastle, with 14 cars finishing on the lead lap.
Pole sitter Brodie Kostecki led the first stint in his #99 Coca-Cola Camaro but finished fourth – where he came out after the first stop lap.
Waters and Feeney held Kostecki honestly, and by lap 6 the top three had been covered by just 0.9 seconds.
After a pause, van Gisbergen caught up with the leaders and on Lap 13 at Turn 8 he tumbled onto teammate Feeney in third.
Van Gisbergen set off behind Waters, but try as he might, the reigning champion couldn’t dislodge the #6 Monster Mustang.
The rivals came closest on lap 29; Waters slid out of Turn 11 and van Gisbergen pulled next – only for Waters to pit immediately.
Feeney stopped from third place two laps earlier; On lap 30, Kostecki stopped from the lead and popped up behind a quarreling Waters and Feeney.
Van Gisbergen came out ahead of all three after his stop on lap 31, had track position and pulled away from Waters.
On lap 48 the #97 Red Bull Ampol Camaro was 5.2 seconds ahead of Waters with Feeney and Kostecki falling away from Waters.
Van Gisbergen had followed Slade out of the pit lane, with the #400 Nulon Camaro held up by a stuck front wheel.
By lap 55, van Gisbergen had increased his lead to 7.8 seconds while Waters kept Feeney at bay.
Reynolds and Chaz Mostert (#25 Mobil 1 Optus Mustang) were fifth, who was fourth when Kostecki, first of the leaders, made his second stop on lap 55.
Feeney made his second stop on the next lap, and Waters stopped a lap later to negate the backspin.
It didn’t work, Feeney jumped Waters into effective second and opened a gap – with Mostert clearing Reynolds at Turn 8.
Finally, on Lap 65, van Gisbergen made his second stop and picked up green tires on the right side of his #97 Camaro.
The gap between the two Red Bull Ampol Camaros on the return was four seconds, with Waters a second behind Feeney.
Behind them, Kostecki was caught in the clutches of an attacking Mostert – Reynolds had dropped out of the top 10 – while Will Brown took a lonely sixth place.
After an exciting battle, Mostert edged out Kostecki for fourth place on lap 81, but was 10.5 seconds behind Ford’s stablemate Waters.
It meant little to van Gisbergen, who picked up his first win since Gold Coast 2022, to start his title defense on a good note.
Andre Heimgartner (#8 R&J Batteries Camaro), Mark Winterbottom (#18 DEWALT Camaro), Scott Pye (#20 Hino Camaro) and James Courtney (#5 Snowy Rivers Caravans Mustang) completed the top 10.
Nick Percat (#2 Mobil 1 NTI Mustang) was the only DNF of the race, with Slade losing five laps in his 400th career start.
Sunday’s action begins with ARMOR ALL Qualifying at 11:15 a.m. local time, followed by the Top Ten Shootout at 12:35 p.m.
The Thrifty Newcastle 500 concludes at 15:20 with the 95 lap Race 2.
https://www.foxsports.com.au/motorsport/supercars/new-year-same-svg-reigning-champ-flips-off-rival-in-supercars-statement/news-story/cea7db9ebf34ae7f54331bbdf30c0620 Newcastle 500, Shane van Gisbergen, protest, details, dry ice, race one winner, Camaro, Flips Off rival, Mac Jones, Red Bull Racing, Triple Eight