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Supercars Sydney SuperNight 2 talking points

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Roar Guru
7th November, 2021
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The Sydney Cup continues for the Supercars championship at Sydney Motorsport Park with the second instalment of night racing at the 3.93km Gardner Circuit to the west of the bustling CBD.

There was drama between heavyweight teams, heartbreak for a rookie and some exciting but treacherous wet weather racing on Sunday. Here are the key talking points from the second Sydney SuperNight.

Brown robbed maiden victory
Scoring a maiden pole position ahead of Race 23, Erebus Motorsport’s Will Brown endured more poor luck during the 32-lap night race when a bungled pit stop cost the rookie what could’ve been a first ever Supercars win.

The 23-year-old kept fellow front-row sitter and seven-time Supercars champion Jamie Whincup at bay going into Turn 1 and held strong in the lead during the opening stint.

Whincup was brought in on Lap 6 for his compulsory pit stop to try and undercut the Erebus Commodore ahead, while the Victorian squad pulled in their driver on the following lap to avoid losing the spot.

Jamie Whincup

(Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

There was where the race unravelled for Brown, with a broken wheel nut on the front-right side costing the polesitter the chance to deliver a maiden Supercars victory.

It took the team 28 seconds to get Brown back on track, but by then it was the second occasion in as many weeks that poor pit stops have ruined Erebus’ chances of securing that elusive win.

Initially, Brown’s teammate Brodie Kostecki benefited from the woes on the other side of the garage and was in the hunt for a spot on the podium.

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However during his own pit stop, Kostecki was found to have been speeding in the pit lane and was given a drive-through penalty.

“I’ve got a bloody fast race car, but it’s not helping us right now,” said a dejected Brown post-race, adding that “somebody doesn’t want us to win.”

DJR’s Saturday to forget
Following his excellent showing at last week’s Sydney SuperNight, it was widely tipped coming into this weekend that Anton De Pasquale would pick up where he left off after his Race 19 win.

However, the 26-year-old failed to even qualify for Race 20 and was set to start from the back of the field. A mechanical problem with the transaxle saw De Pasquale struggling with his gearbox and unable to take part in the three-part knockout session.

De Pasquale ended the Saturday night race in 11th, however had a time penalty applied post-race for his abuse of track limits during the 32-lap sprint, dropping down to 12th in the end.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Shell V-Power garage, there was much grievance for Will Davison, who was not a fan of racing alongside championship leader Shane van Gisbergen at the start.

Starting on the second row together, Davison and van Gisbergen were side-by-side heading through Turn 1, before the Shell V-Power Mustang ran wide after a minor bump from the Red Bull Commodore.

(Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

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Davison then went wide again at Turn 2, as the eventual Race 20 winner took the ascendency and left the two-time Bathurst 1000 winner with two wheels off in the dirt.

The 39-year-old then dropped behind Kostecki’s Erebus and Cameron Waters, before following Whincup’s undercut strategy to finish third – albeit 24 seconds from the lead.

De Pasquale’s soft-tyre stint pays off
Sunday was a brand-new day for the Shell V-Power squad, as De Pasquale mastered the wet conditions during qualifying for Race 21 and then converted another pole to victory.

Starting on the soft tyres with a threat of rain during the late afternoon 32-lapper, De Pasquale got swamped on the start by van Gisbergen, who started on the hard compound and led the race.

A lap later, De Pasquale had the Red Bull Commodore at Turn 8 and then began to grow his advantage. Van Gisbergen was in on Lap 13 to make his compulsory pit stop.

With an eye on the prospect of rain, De Pasquale sought to extend the stint as long as he could before a late stop on Lap 23. At this point, there was a near 50-second lead over van Gisbergen and a fourth win of the season was in sight.

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James Courtney completed the podium with an excellent drive for the struggling Tickford camp, jumping up three positions from where he started and capitalising on an early pit stop to beat out Davison and a charging Scott Pye.

An interesting battle unfolded for seventh between Andre Heimgartner and Chaz Mostert, with the Kelly Grove racer having been shown a bad-sportsmanship flag for blocking the Appliances Online Commodore.

The pair bumped and barged each other in the latter stages of the race, as Mostert came up short.

Wet, wild and after dark
It may sound like the title to an adult film, but it was the best way to describe Race 22 at the conclusion of the second Sydney SuperNight, which was eventually red flagged and not restarted with seven laps to go.

Garry Jacobson’s RABBLEclub Racing Nissan Altima

(Stephen Blackberry/Action Plus via Getty Images)

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Torrential rain descended upon Sydney Motorsport Park under the lights, which made for a spectacular sight. As was the lightening start from Bryce Fullwood out of eighth position into the lead – or so was believed.

The jump start for the Walkinshaw Andretti United Commodore was only the first of many bizarre occurrences during the final 32-lap race. After his Race 21 podium, James Courtney collected the Boost Mobile Commodore of Kostecki on the first lap, which triggered the first Safety Car.

Upon the restart, van Gisbergen was quick to dispatch De Pasquale heading into Turn 1, however race control saw it as the Kiwi making a pass before the safety car control line, thus penalising the Red Bull Commodore.

To van Gisbergen’s ire, a penalty was handed down for a restart infringement – though was remarkably revoked by race control, as it was found that De Pasquale indeed lifted off the throttle heading into Turn 1 and made it look like he was passed.

Fullwood was handed a penalty for his jump start, while race control penalised van Gisbergen again – this time for a pit-lane infringement during his pit stop. The Kiwi dropped then to 23rd and behind Fullwood.

During this time, Mostert was scything through the field from the rear having been stripped of his front-row start due to a bodywork irregularity. The 2014 Bathurst 1000 winner had the pace to potentially win the race if it weren’t ended under the red flag.

Jake Kostecki’s crash triggered the second safety car and the eventual red flag, as the rain continued to get heavier and the track conditions were unsafe due to standing water. As a result the victory went to the way of Whincup, ahead of De Pasquale and Mostert.

David Reynolds benched
One of the major talking points coming into the second round at Sydney Motorsport Park was the chatter around a driver allegedly unable to provide valid proof or exemption of COVID-19 vaccination – as this is a requirement under NSW Health orders.

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David Reynolds

David Reynolds. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

It was then confirmed by Kelly Grove Racing that it was David Reynolds who failed to provide a valid exemption to officials, forcing the Victorian-based outfit to bench the 2017 Bathurst 1000 winner.

Reynolds will now miss the remainder of the Sydney Motorsport Park events and could face the possibility of missing the blue-riband Bathurst 1000 on December 5, unless he is able to receive his second dose in time.

Supercars CEO Sean Seamer in speaking to SENZ Radio stated that “nobody is above the sport”, also adding that he will not “comment on a personal medical situation”.

Kelly Grove Racing did hand Reynolds’ veteran co-driver Luke Youlden his first ever solo gig in 21 years of driving in the Supercars category.

He finished 24th in his debut race and that was backed up by solid qualifying performances in the wet on Sunday, where the 43-year-old ended up 11th and 12th respectively.

Beyond this weekend, there is a chance that Andre Heimgartner’s new co-driver in international Porsche GT ace Matt Campbell may even steer the Penrite Mustang in preparation for the Bathurst 1000.

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