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HomeNewsPayne sails to supreme maiden Supercars win

Payne sails to supreme maiden Supercars win

MATT Payne has repaid Grove Racing’s faith to break through for a stunning Adelaide 500 victory to cap off his rookie Supercars season.

In scenes of reminiscent of 2022 when Broc Feeney won the last race of his rookie year in Adelaide, Payne was the comfortable net leader from start to finish.

The long-time Grove prodigy has shown plenty of one-lap pace but before today had been yet to record a championship podium.

Now, he is in the books as the 85th race winner in ATCC/Supercars Championship history.

It was one half of a bittersweet day for New Zealand fans, contrasted by Shane van Gisbergen’s full-time Supercars career meeting a meek end.

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Payne got the bragging rights off the startline by beating polesitter Brodie Kostecki to the first corner.

From there, Payne was flawless, stretching his legs to lead by four seconds by the first round of pitstops arrived.

There was plenty happening behind him, starting with clumsy contact between Jack Le Brocq and his 2024 Matt Stone Racing replacement Nick Percat at Turn 14.

The matter was deemed a racing incident but both drivers lost out, Le Brocq picking up steering damage and Percat also tumbling down the order.

On Lap 11, Chaz Mostert’s hopes of avoiding a winless season took a hit as he was slapped with a five-second penalty for a bump-and-run on Feeney, one corner after the #88 driver had passed the two-time Bathurst 1000 winner.

That forced Walkinshaw Andretti United to go to an alternate strategy, opting for a longer first fuel stop which, combined with the penalty, dropped Mostert to 14th.

Also going bold on strategy was Triple Eight/van Gisbergen, stopping him early (Lap 15) to gain track position.

There was a different sort of action in the lane the next lap: Macauley Jones getting spun approaching his pit box by James Golding, who PremiAir Racing released unsafely and was subsequently dealt a drive-through penalty.

Jones and Golding make contact in pitlane. Pic: Ross Gibb

The first of the frontrunners to stop (Lap 19) was Thomas Randle, who had been the lead Tickford Racing driver after passing Cam Waters.

Randle hit a hurdle upon exiting the lane, finding himself in a battle with van Gisbergen and dropping places after attempting to run around the outside of the #97 at Turn 4 on Lap 21.

Payne pitted on Lap 24 while Waters pressed on for another six laps, after which the order ran: Payne, Feeney, Kostecki – the #88 having superbly passed the #99 at Turn 14 – David Reynolds, van Gisbergen, Will Davison, Randle, Will Brown, Waters and James Courtney.

Making the most of fresher tyres, Waters scythed his way through the field, passing Brown, Randle, Davison, van Gisbergen and Kostecki in a productive middle stint.

All the while, Payne was handling the limelight like a seasoned pro, gradually eking out his advantage.

That was 5.1s over Feeney by Lap 41, six-plus seconds by the time the final pitstop sequence had played out, and 7.5s with 15 laps to go – a maiden podium and win for the Kiwi drawing closer.

Capturing much of the attention was his compatriot van Gisbergen though, and not for his trademark late-race charge.

Van Gisbergen heads to the garage. Pic: Ross Gibb

There would be no grand swansong for the NASCAR-bound star, van Gisbergen suffering a mysterious drama that saw him pit six times in the space of nine laps.

Triple Eight would eventually retire the car on Lap 53 of 78.

With van Gisbergen out of contention, the front four appeared relatively set in stone, still Payne, Feeney, Reynolds and Waters.

All the action unfolded in the battle for fifth, for a time held by Andre Heimgartner as Brad Jones Racing desperately tried to hold off Tickford for third in the teams’ championship.

Mostert again showed strong late-race pace to deprive Heimgartner of fifth, Kostecki having run wide at Turn 9 upon trying to do so on Lap 64.

Kostecki celebrates his Supercars title. Pic: Ross Gibb

Heimgartner did hang on for sixth, ahead of Anton De Pasquale, Kostecki, Davison and Randle.

Brown ended up 14th in his final race before joining Triple Eight, Erebus adding the teams’ championship trophy to the drivers’ title Kostecki secured yesterday.

BJR (#8 and #14) did enough for third ahead of Tickford (#5 and #6), Dick Johnson Racing and Walkinshaw Andretti United.

Cameron Hill repaid his MSR crew’s rapid post-qualifying rebuild with a solid run to 17th while Golding, Percat, Jones and Le Brocq came home 20th through 23rd after their aforementioned incidents.

RESULTS: Race 2, 2023 VAILO Adelaide 500

119Matthew PayneGroveFord78 laps
288Broc FeeneyTriple EightChevrolet+8.8483s
326David ReynoldsGroveFord+11.1857s
443Cam WatersTickfordFord+20.0235s
525Chaz MostertWAUFord+26.5661s
68Andre HeimgartnerBJRChevrolet+29.801s
711Anton De PasqualeDJRFord+30.6873s
899Brodie KosteckiErebusChevrolet+31.5484s
917Will DavisonDJRFord+32.6278s
1055Thomas RandleTickfordFord+35.1791s
113Todd HazelwoodBRTFord+40.6797s
125James CourtneyTickfordFord+41.5167s
1320Scott PyeTeam 18Chevrolet+42.5463s
149Will BrownErebusChevrolet+50.2513s
1518Mark WinterbottomTeam 18Chevrolet+54.5853s
1623Tim SladePremiAirChevrolet+60.4464s
1735Cameron HillMSRChevrolet+71.594s
1814Bryce FullwoodBJRChevrolet+73.8305s
194Jack SmithBJRChevrolet+1 lap
2031James GoldingPremiAirChevrolet+1 lap
212Nick PercatWAUFord+1 lap
2296Macauley JonesBJRChevrolet+2 laps
2334Jack Le BrocqMSRChevrolet+14 laps
2497Shane van GisbergenTriple EightChevroletNC
2556Declan FraserTickfordFordNC
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