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HomeNewsReynolds pips Kostecki to win Gold Coast finale

Reynolds pips Kostecki to win Gold Coast finale

DAVID Reynolds has ended a near five-year win drought in a Sunday thriller at the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500.

Reynolds capitalised on some savvy strategy from his Grove Racing team to steal the lead from Brodie Kostecki at the final round of pitstops, and he emerged from a rollercoaster exchange victorious – completing a Surfers Paradise double for Ford.

Pole-sitter Kostecki retained the upper hand into the first chicane, while Chaz Mostert got a lightning start off the second row to be challenging for second place.

Reynolds staved off Mostert, just, while Matt Payne hung onto fourth despite a tap from Mark Winterbottom behind.

After an uninterrupted Saturday race, the Sunday encounter was neutralised almost immediately courtesy of an opening lap tangle at Turn 4.

The catalyst was Declan Fraser, James Courtney and Tim Slade running three-wide, with the latter two spearing into the outside fence as their wheels appeared to interlock.

Macauley Jones was an innocent subsequent victim, collecting the rear of Courtney’s Mustang, and bouncing lightly into teammate Jack Smith.

The outcome of that was a reduction to 22 cars left in the fight, with Courtney, Slade and Jones eliminated – the #23 Nulon Camaro sustaining particularly severe damage.

With the Safety Car circulating, the Compulsory Pit Stop window’s opening was delayed until the race restarted on Lap 8.

Jack Le Brocq and Will Davison pitted at the first opportunity to do so, at the end of that lap, to chip away at undercutting the angry mid-pack.

In the middle of it, Shane van Gisbergen was making up ground having restarted 10th while Anton De Pasquale was shuffled back a few positions.

Out in front, Reynolds hassled Kostecki but could not make a move, hanging behind at less than a second adrift for a prolonged period.

Grove Racing split its strategies, Payne being the first of the frontrunners to pit on Lap 21 and Reynolds the last 11 laps later.

That allowed Payne to grab second, with Reynolds third and Mostert fourth while Kostecki remained out in front.

There was a fair bit of moving and shaking in the middle stint of the race, Reynolds  reclaiming second while Mostert lost places to Saturday winner Cam Waters, van Gisbergen and James Golding.

Waters moved his Monster Mustang into the podium placings before the final round of stops, passing Payne at Turn 4 on Lap 50.

Waters stopped on Lap 53, and van Gisbergen/Payne/Golding/Will Brown all followed suit the next time around.

Van Gisbergen’s charge, which including picking off Payne just before pitting, was not helped as he emerged from the lane back behind Payne and Golding.

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Kostecki ducked in for his last service on Lap 57 by which time he had a four-second advantage in hand over Reynolds, who Grove kept out for the time being.

With less fuel to put in the car, Reynolds emerged from his Lap 57 stop at 1.7s ahead, putting him in the box seat for a first win since the 2018 finale in Newcastle.

That margin closed to 0.8s across the next few laps, with Kostecki in an intriguing position of balancing race win and championship aspirations.

Waters was still third, but some 8s back from the top two and with his hands full as Golding hunted a maiden podium for himself and PremiAir Racing.

It soon became clear where Kostecki’s mindset was at, the #99 driver launching a full-scale attack on Reynolds, with some rubbing at Turn 4 on Lap 69.

Reynolds desperately tried to hang on but appeared outmatched, Kostecki squeezing by on the run to the beach chicane on Lap 71.

Brodie Kostecki ahead of David Reynolds. Pic: Ross Gibb

But the inevitable was not so.

Against the grain, Reynolds seized the lead back as Kostecki ran wide at Turn 11, and the 2017 Bathurst 1000 winner made a decisive move into the following corner.

There was another twist in the tale, in the form of a late Safety Car.

Golding spun out of fourth place after slapping the Turn 3 barriers – and worse yet, his ill-timed flick spin forced Scott Pye to take evasive action, crunching the concrete wall.

Pye, who had been seventh, was forced to park up on the back straight.

The Safety Car came as Kostecki harassed Reynolds.

The race restarted on Lap 81, and things tightened as the final lap began, but Reynolds hung on – aided by a cheeky run across the first chicane.

Reynolds took the chequered flag by a mere 0.1889s.

Waters, Payne, van Gisbergen, Golding, Thomas Randle, Broc Feeney, Winterbottom and Bryce Fullwood rounded out the 10.

A series of five-second penalties for exceeding track limits were intensified by the late Safety Car, with Brown, Mostert, Le Brocq, Cameron Hill and Davison all affected.

In the bigger picture, another smart drive has given Kostecki an extended 131-point championship lead over van Gisbergen into next month’s Adelaide decider.

No more than 300 points are up for grabs, meaning Brown and Feeney are now out of mathematical contention.

RESULTS: Race 2, 2023 Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500

126David ReynoldsGroveFord85 laps
299Brodie KosteckiErebusChevrolet+0.1889s
36Cam WatersTickfordFord+2.8703s
419Matthew PayneGroveFord+3.4683s
597Shane van GisbergenTriple EightChevrolet+4.8843s
631James GoldingPremiAirChevrolet+5.714s
755Thomas RandleTickfordFord+6.4922s
888Broc FeeneyTriple EightChevrolet+7.9309s
918Mark WinterbottomTeam 18Chevrolet+9.2374s
1014Bryce FullwoodBJRChevrolet+9.7138s
119Will BrownErebusChevrolet+10.2097s
122Nick PercatWAUFord+11.9578s
1325Chaz MostertWAUFord+12.737s
1434Jack Le BrocqMSRChevrolet+15.5625s
1535Cameron HillMSRChevrolet+16.1314s
1617Will DavisonDJRFord+17.4348s
178Andre HeimgartnerBJRChevrolet+27.1258s
183Todd HazelwoodBRTFord+39.7642s
194Jack SmithBJRChevrolet+1 lap
2056Declan FraserTickfordFord+2 laps
2111Anton De PasqualeDJRFord+4 laps
2220Scott PyeTeam 18ChevroletNTR
2323Tim SladePremiAirChevroletNTR
245James CourtneyTickfordFordNTR
2596Macauley JonesBJRChevroletNTR
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