One other twist has been added to the Supercars championship race after stewards confirmed title hope Shane van Gisbergen was underneath investigation following his dramatic Newcastle win.
Holden’s van Gisbergen was all smiles after reeling in title rival Scott McLaughlin on the ultimate lap to win the season finale’s opening 250km race on Saturday.
Remarkably van Gisbergen’s victory lower Ford gun McLaughlin’s collection lead to simply two factors with only one race left within the season – Sunday’s 95-lap occasion.
Nonetheless, van Gisbergen is now sweating on the decision of a stewards investigation for an alleged pitstop breach on Saturday.
Any penalty could be a title blow for van Gisbergen who had set the stage for a nailbiting season end on the robust 2.6km road circuit.
Aiming for his maiden Supercars title, McLaughlin got here into the ultimate spherical with a 14-point championship lead over 2016 champion van Gisbergen to make sure the closest season end in a decade.
But it surely bought even nearer thanks to van Gisbergen’s late heroics as fellow Kiwi McLaughlin nursed his ailing Ford across the closing two laps, dramatically operating out of gasoline as he crossed the end line.
“What a end. I did not see it coming. I believed he (McLaughlin) was house and hosed,” van Gisbergen mentioned.
“It is now winner takes all.”
The turning level in Saturday’s race appeared to come when McLaughlin’s Ford teammate Fabian Coulthard hit the wall on lap 42, prompting the only real security automotive.
Nick Percat narrowly prevented spearing into Coulthard however had one aspect of his Holden’s bodywork shaved off like a can opener by the inclined Falcon.
After groups pitted within the frenzied response to the security automotive, McLaughlin emerged with the race lead and van Gisbergen was relegated to a distant eighth.
However a fast-finishing van Gisbergen pounced when McLaughlin endured gasoline dramas.
McLaughlin remains to be hoping to exorcise his Newcastle demons on Sunday.
Final yr McLaughlin appeared to have the title within the bag with a 78 level lead and grabbing pole for the ultimate race, solely to see Jamie Whincup come from the clouds to win a document seventh drivers’ title.
“Could the perfect man win,” McLaughlin mentioned.
The largest casualty on Saturday was the ever-popular Craig Lowndes.
Within the closing spherical of his stellar 22-year profession as a full-time driver, seven-time Bathurst champ Lowndes’ penultimate race was all however over when Holden’s Scott Pye made contact in a frenetic pit lane after Coulthard prompted the security automotive.
To make issues worse, Ford’s Mark Winterbottom then dragged a tyre that was about to be fitted on Lowndes’ Commodore down pit lane, prompting the veteran to lose his cool.
Lowndes completed final within the 23-strong subject with three drivers failing to end.