Ford's Cam Waters wins classic on the Gold Coast
It was a race that will go down as one of the greatest cliff hanger's the Surfers Paradise street circuit has ever hosted.
Waters held out van Gisbergen in a nail-biting showdown that came down to the final corner. After opening a decent lead with only a few laps to go, van Gisbergen in the #97 Red Bull Ampol Camaro made his run for the line, putting pressure on the Ford ace as it went down to the wire.
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The margin will go down as the closest non team 1-2 finish margin on the Gold Coast in a Championship race.
In third place was David Reynolds in the #26 Penrite Racing Ford Mustang, who finished ahead of the Castrol Racing Ford of Thomas Randle, that was fourth.
The crowd at the Surfers Paradise Street Circuit was treated to a sensational race with a photo finish, as Waters secured his second win of the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship.
It was also his 10th Supercars Championship Race win, and his first on the Gold Coast. Waters now has 5 wins from his 22 starts from pole in the Championship.
He last crossed the line first in Darwin in 2022 and won the Newcastle opener after the Triple Eight disqualification.
Waters said: "Unbelievable. It's been such a shocking year, to be honest. It's so good to finally get the win, or a win this year, a proper one."
"Shane was coming for me, but there was no way I was going to let a bloody GM beat me again."
"I had a bit of fuel saving to do and a bit of tire saving, but I had a few kerb hops up my sleeve, and I made sure I was set for the last five laps and gave it everything."
"He got to my rear bar, but he was never going to pass me."
The victory by the Monster Energy Mustang was Tickford Racing's 82nd race win. The margin will go down as the closest non team 1-2 finish margin on the Gold Coast in a Championship race.
The result sees van Gisbergen, who finished 2nd cut the championship lead of Coca-Cola Camaro driver Brodie Kostecki from 131 to 104 with just three races remaining in 2023.
Van Gisbergen's second placing was Triple Eight's 500th podium in the Supercars Championship, making the Banyo-based team the first in history to reach that milestone.
The 85th and final lap of the race saw van Gisbergen closing in on Waters, with a mere 0.3621 seconds separating the two. Their cars were nose-to-tail as they entered the Hairpin. Waters held his ground and crossed the finish line just 0.1945 seconds ahead of van Gisbergen.
As he held off van Gisbergen and claimed the win, Waters celebrated in style, with a burnout around the famous street circuit on his way into victory lane.
Scott Pye of Hino racing behind the wheel of the #20 Hino Camaro, was officially classified in sixth place. Andre Heimgartner 7th, Chaz Mostert from Walkinshaw Andretti United (#25 Mobil 1 Optus Mustang) finishing eighth. Matt Payne of Grove Racing (#19 Penrite Mustang) and James Courtney of Tickford (#5 Mustang) rounded out the top ten.
As the race progressed, pit stops and strategic decisions played a crucial role. Waters managed to maintain his lead after the pit stops.
The final race of the 2023 Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 will be held tomorrow afternoon after another round of Qualifying, a Top Ten Shootout.
Qualifying for Race 26 is set to begin tomorrow at 10:05 local time/11:05 AEDT, withthe Shootout at 11:35am and the 250km race beginning at 2:15pm local time.
Live coverage of the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 can be found on Seven and Foxtel, with live streaming available on 7plus and Kayo.
|BOOST MOBILE GOLD COAST 500 TRACK SCHEDULE (TIMES AEST)|
|ARMORALL QUALIFYING - RACE 26||SUN 10:05 AM - 10:20 PM|
|ARMORALL TOP TEN SHOOTOUT||SUN 11:35 AM - 12:05 PM|
|RACE 26||SUN 2:15 PM|