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Friday, March 1, 2024


SHANE van Gisbergen’s charge from 17th on the grid to win the Saturday race at Sandown on the weekend was one of the great Supercars drives.

Even putting his busted collarbone aside, van Gisbergen’s effort to pick his way through the field – including a sensational late-race double-pass for second place – was incredible.

FIVE STRAIGHT: How van Gisbergen’s flying start ranks

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But while 17th was a new benchmark for the lowest a winner had ever started an ATCC/Supercars Championship race at Sandown, it was far from a category record.

Here are nine other times a driver has started an ATCC/Supercars Championship race from 17th or worse and won…

2004 Eastern Creek, Rick Kelly
Started: 17th

Rick Kelly became the youngest-ever winner of a single-driver ATCC/Supercars race with this drive in 2004. Pic: an1images.com / Justin Deeley

Saturday at Sandown was in fact the third time a championship race had been won from 17th on the grid.

The first occurred in the 300km encounter at Eastern Creek in 2004, where Kmart Racing’s Rick Kelly put in a stunning drive in wet conditions to scythe through the pack.

2016 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, Will Davison/Jonathon Webb
Started: 17th

Davison narrowly held out Shane van Gisbergen at the finish. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

Davison and Webb had a muted build-up to the 2016 Bathurst 1000 but put it all together on race day.

They won the race without technically leading a lap having crossed the line second behind Jamie Whincup, who had a 10-second post-race time penalty thanks to his infamous clash with Scott McLaughlin.

2018 Perth SuperSprint Race 2, Scott McLaughlin
Started: 19th

McLaughlin’s rise in this race was so rapid he ended up leading over half of the 83 laps! Pic: Supplied

McLaughlin’s chances of a fourth straight race victory during his title-winning 2018 season appeared to be dashed when a mistake in knockout qualifying meant he failed to get out of Q1.

But a mix of stunning speed and strong strategy in the 200km, two-stop encounter earned McLaughlin the victory on a day where Craig Lowndes also charged, driving from 25th to third.

2007 Winton Motor Raceway Race 1, Jamie Whincup
Started: 20th

The Race 1 result set up Whincup’s first win in a single-driver Supercars round. Pic: an1images.com / Justin Deeley

A fresh-faced, 24-year-old Whincup made the most of a tricky wet/dry Winton to carve his way through from 20th on the grid to victory in this 40-lap encounter.

The result was set up by an early pit stop for a second set of wet tyres. It was a strategic masterstroke in just Whincup’s second event working with race engineer Mark Dutton.

2010 Sydney Telstra 500 Race 1, Jonathon Webb
Started: 21st

Webb celebrates his first Supercars race win. Pic: an1images.com / Andrew Hall

This 250km race will be forever famous for the classic “they’re all in the fence” moment in which title combatants James Courtney, Jamie Whincup and Mark Winterbottom crashed when a downpour hit.

While the focus after that was very much on the race between the pit crews to repair the damaged cars and score points, it was rookie Jonathon Webb who avoided the carnage to record a career-first victory.

2014 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, Chaz Mostert/Paul Morris
Started: 25th

The FPR Falcon wearing the scars of Morris’ collision with the Grffins Bend tyre bundle. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

Mostert managed 14th during Friday qualifying but was subsequently excluded from the session for passing a car under red flags, resigning the youngster to a 25th place start.

The Pepsi Max Falcon won the eight-hour epic on Sunday by passing an out-of-fuel Jamie Whincup – who had started from 23rd after a qualifying crash! – on the last lap.

2004 Tasmania Triple Challenge Race 3, David Besnard
Started: 29th

Besnard was declared the winner in unusual circumstances. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

Besnard and WPS Racing’s victory in this race was not the result of a charge through the field… but rather a truly bizarre series of events that wasn’t sorted out until a week after the race!

Officials initially waved the chequered flag to Greg Murphy after the scheduled 42 laps as the winner, however a Safety Car mid-race and pit stops had caused confusion.

The results were eventually adjusted to declare Besnard the winner from Jason Bright and Mark Skaife. The trio had originally been 18th, 20th and 21st in the order but had done 43 laps!

2006 Oran Park Raceway Race 2, Mark Skaife
Started: 30th

Mark Skaife charged from 30th to 1st in Race 2. Pic: an1images.com / Justin Deeley

This 53-lap affair was the last of six races during 2006 where the Race 2 grid was determined by the reverse of the Race 1 finishing order.

Skaife had actually failed to finish the first race and under the rules started 30th, behind Race 1 winner and teammate Todd Kelly, but carved his way through to victory.

2000 Clipsal 500 Adelaide Race 2, Mark Skaife
Started: 38th

Skaife accepts the applause of the crowd on the podium. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

Skaife started from 38th and last due to a rear-of-grid penalty for carrying out a Compulsory Pit Stop under Safety Car on Saturday. As he’d retired from that race with engine problems, the penalty mattered little.

What followed was perhaps Skaife’s greatest-ever drive as his lowly starting slot and a stop-go penalty for speeding in pit lane couldn’t prevent the Holden star from cutting through the atrocious conditions for victory.

That race features in V8 Sleuth’s latest book, ‘Sensational Adelaide: An Illustrated History of the Adelaide 500’, which is now available to pre-order here.

Note: Some readers will expect Craig Lowndes’ 1999 Adelaide 500 Sunday performance to appear on this list, given that he lined up 36th on the grid and won.

However, as that first Adelaide event was uniquely considered a single race split over two segments, Lowndes’ official starting position was the third-place grid slot in which he’d started on Saturday.

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