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Flying Kiwi triumphant in Adelaide V8s
By Laine Clark
18:32 AEST Sun Mar 3 2013

Tongues were wagging about Kiwi star Shane van Gisbergen before he had even arrived at the V8 Supercars season opener in Adelaide - for all the wrong reasons.

However, the controversial driver walked away from the tight street circuit with a more positive buzz on Sunday after holding out defending champion Jamie Whincup to win the second 250km race of the weekend.

Van Gisbergen was the talk of the track before anyone had turned a wheel after his former team threatened legal action in a bid to stop him from racing following a messy off-season departure.

And the flying Kiwi continued to dominate conversation by clinching his third career victory.

He finished more than two seconds ahead of four-time championship winner Whincup whose Triple Eight Holden teammate Craig Lowndes was third in front of a sell-out 95,000-strong crowd.

Van Gisbergen snapped a 34-race winning run by Holden's Triple Eight and Ford Performance Racing who had combined to claim every V8 Supercars event since November 2011.

He was in a more talkative mood on Sunday, two days after brushing media when the topic of his ugly fallout with former Ford team Stone Brothers Racing was brought up.

"I have to apologise to everyone for the other day but I am just happy to talk about the racing," van Gisbergen said.

The young upstart's win seemed an apt way to usher in an exciting era under new Car of the Future (COTF) specifications.

All 28 competitors boasted new vehicles, including newcomers Mercedes and Nissan, the first time an entire field had done so at the same round in touring car history.

Initially it seemed nothing had changed when Lowndes took out the opening 250km race by more than 20 seconds on Saturday after pole sitter van Gisbergen suffered gearbox trouble.

And it seemed Whincup would extend his Holden team's dominance on Sunday before van Gisbergen wrestled back the lead with a clever 42nd lap pit stop.

He lost a six-second buffer over Whincup when the safety car emerged after Alex Davison hit the concrete wall with 13 laps left.

But he kept clear of the mad scramble that followed to claim line honours, almost making up for the disappointment of race one.

Lowndes finished third to keep the series lead on 279 points, 12 ahead of Whincup and 39 ahead of Ford's Will Davison.

But van Gisbergen has sounded his intentions in a Holden that was made by the same team that produced Whincup and Lowndes' cars.

"It is exactly the same. If we didn't do that then the championship may not be as exciting as it is but it hurts," Whincup said.

"We are the factory team but the smaller guys trumped us today but full credit to them."

Of the new entrants, Nissan's best was James Moffatt at 13th while Lee Holdsworth's Mercedes was last of the 17 classified finishers.

V8s return in exhibition races at the Australian Grand Prix from March 14-17 while round two of the series is at Symmons Plains, Tasmania in April.


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