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Sports/Touring Car Racing Topics:  ITM 400 Hamilton, Shane van Gisbergen


Stone Brothers Racing
April 17, 2011

An elated Stone Brothers Racing secured their first V8 Supercar win since with their #9 SP Tools Racing Falcon driven by Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen 2008 - in front of their ‘home’ crowd - at the Hamilton street circuit in New Zealand this afternoon.

After starting the race in fourth place, Van Gisbergen drove the race of his life to beat home Lee Holdsworth and Garth Tander for the race win that has been a long time coming for the Queensland-based outfit.

Van Gisbergen was always in contention today, with a fast car and perfect strategy which was illustrated early with the #9 SP Tools Racing Falcon posting some of the races fastest laps in the early stages of the 59-lap race. The only threat to Van Gisbergen’s podium hopes was the possibility of rain which has plagued the street circuit over the last few days.

But like a fairytale, the clouds parted soon after the race start and the majority of the race was able to be run in near-idyllic conditions, with only the lightest of showers materialising in the closing laps of the race, but not enough to rain on Van Gisbergen’s parade.

It was almost a fantasy finish for SBR, with the #9 IRWIN Racing Falcon of Alex Davison and #47 Lucky 7 Racing Falcon of Tim Slade also looking to cross the line in the top ten, but a coming together in the closing stages unfortunately curtailed Slade’s race, but Davison was able to keep going to cross the line in seventh place.

Van Gisbergen’s win today was the 21 year old’s first in his V8 Supercar career and the first for a New Zealander at the Hamilton circuit which is a great buoy for Van Gisbergen’s confidence as he heads to Perth in a fortnight’s time for the Trading Post Challenge at Barbagallo.

Shane van Gisbergen – Driver, SP Tools Racing Car #9

“Today was a dream come true. It was a really emotional race towards the end there. I could hear the crowd cheering me on and really had to concentrate.. I had a few “c’mon Shane” moments there and started making mistakes so I asked Paul (Forgie)my engineer not to tell me how many laps were left so I could concentrate on just getting the laps down.

“Our car had really good cold tyre speed so at every restart (after the several safety car periods) I was able to make a place which was pretty good. I could see Lee (Holdsworth) had some pace and he kept me on my toes but we had the whole package today and the emotional kick I had really helped me stay in front.It was déjà vu like Sydney last year but I knew we had plenty of fuel this time – I’m stoked!

“Growing up I was a ‘Murph clapper’, every lap Murph (fellow NZ racer Greg Murphy) went past I’d be clapping so to have the whole crowd behind me today felt pretty cool. It’s such a good day for the team, for Ford for SP Tools – we’ve had a couple of shockers recently so to score this one today will hopefully give us some momentum going into the next round.”

Ross Stone – Team Principal, Stone Brothers Racing

“Hopefully the gap to the next win isn’t as long!

“Today was one of those days where there were no mistakes. We had good car speed, good pit stop strategy and 100 out of 100 for everything falling into place and Shane did an excellent job.

“We’ve all worked hard for this and we have had great support from our sponsors – we knew getting the first one (win) out of the way was always going to be the hardest so hopefully now we’ve opened the gates and the next one won’t be too far away.”

Alex Davison – Driver, IRWIN Racing Car #4

“Shane’s win is fantastic for SBR because collectively we've been knocking on the door for a while now and we've been getting stronger and stronger, all three cars have. It was just a matter of time before one of us had a win. I'm clearly happy for Ross, Jimmy and Shane.

“My result is a bit disappointing because we had a good starting position on the grid. I got belted from pillar to post on the opening lap, I think I had a target on the rear of the car. Once everything settled down it was clear that we had good speed and I was able to start moving forward again, back up to into the top 10.

“The first stop was a debacle. One of the wheel nuts got cross-threaded and we were there for way to long and went back again, then there was a miscommunication in the second stop, delaying my departure. Fortunately the IRWIN Ford was fantastic; we were one of the fastest cars on the track. The fact that we got back up to seventh place was probably a good result but I’m always thinking about what could have been. We are still in a solid position in the championship, it’s so close in the points, there's nothing in it and we're still right in the hunt.”

Tim Slade – Driver, Lucky 7 Racing Car #47 “I’m stoked for Shane and the team with today’s result because we really deserved it. Personally though for me today was a real shame. We had everything going for us, the car was good and we were easily a top ten finisher looking at the possibility of a top five finish if this went our way but then in the closing laps I got tagged and ended up in the wall. It’s been a terrible weekend for us, and one that I won’t be reflecting on in the near future.

“We can though leave the weekend knowing we’re pointing in the right direction with our car speed and set up so I’ll look forward to having a better run in a couple of weeks at Barbagallo.”

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