WILL Davison has survived a late Safety Car restart to hold off Andre Heimgartner in the opening race of the ITM Auckland SuperSprint.
Davison controlled Race 27 of the Repco Supercars Championship at Pukekohe Park Raceway from start to finish after jumping pole-sitter Cameron Waters off the line.
But holding a comfortable 1.7s lead into the back end of the 41-lapper, Davison’s margin was eroded by a Safety Car triggered by the stricken ZB Commodore of Macauley Jones.
Jones had pulled over to the right-hand side of the back straight after tagging James Golding at Turn 4.
That left Davison vulnerable with Heimgartner and Waters right on his tail for a five-lap dash to the end.
Davison though did not put a foot wrong, keeping his #17 Shell V-Power Racing Team Mustang at the head of the field to take the chequered flag with 0.8650s in hand, becoming the 26th driver in championship history to win a race after turning 40.
Benefitting from some rapid work by his Brad Jones Racing crew, Heimgartner joins Greg Murphy, Shane van Gisbergen, Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard as the only Kiwis to have taken a Supercars podium on home soil.
Waters came home third ahead of Chaz Mostert and van Gisbergen, who pulled off a stunning late pass on Anton De Pasquale.
De Pasquale was the big loser through the mid-race pit cycle, who dropped from second to fifth despite having stopped earlier than his rivals.
Broc Feeney, Nick Percat, David Reynolds and Scott Pye rounded out the top 10.
While Davison and De Pasquale aced the start, there was carnage through the opening corner as Golding, Percat, James Courtney and Tim Slade tried to go four-wide.
The latter two lost out, Slade retiring from the race and Courtney also copping damage.
Bryce Fullwood and Jack Le Brocq went down multiple laps due to early power steering issues, while both Brodie and Jake Kostecki were brought unstuck in pit lane.
The #56 Tradie Mustang driver lost his left-rear tyre upon exiting his pit box – having also been released into the path of teammate Courtney.
Brodie Kostecki copped a 15-second penalty for a pit limiter infringement.
Another two races will come tomorrow; on-track action will start with Qualifying for Race 28 from 8:45am AEST/10:45am NZST.
Race 27 results
1. Will Davison
2. Andre Heimgartner
3. Cameron Waters
4. Chaz Mostert
5. Shane van Gisbergen
6. Anton De Pasquale
7. Broc Feeney
8. Nick Percat
9. David Reynolds
10. Scott Pye
11. Mark Winterbottom
12. Lee Holdsworth
13. Chris Pither
14. Jack Smith
15. Todd Hazelwood
16. Thomas Randle
17. James Golding
18. James Courtney
19. Will Brown
20. Brodie Kostecki
21. Jake Kostecki
22. Bryce Fullwood
23. Jack Le Brocq
NC. Macauley Jones
NC. Tim Slade