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HomeNewsBathurstVan Gisbergen/Tander lead Bathurst 1000 at midpoint

Van Gisbergen/Tander lead Bathurst 1000 at midpoint

SHANE van Gisbergen and Garth Tander are halfway to their second Bathurst 1000 win together.

The #97 Red Bull Ampol Racing leads the field after 81 laps, the latest pit stop cycle having just shaken out.

Tander is currently at the wheel and leads by almost eight seconds from the #99 Erebus Motorsport Commodore of Brodie Kostecki/David Russell.

Jamie Whincup (#88) is third, ahead of James Moffat (#6), Matt Payne (#10), Michael Caruso (#18) and Chaz Mostert (#25).

LIVE UPDATES: 2022 Repco Bathurst 1000 as it happens

Standing water on the exit of Hell Corner and right-hand side of Mountain Straight made for a dramatic start featuring a seven-car pile-up.

Whincup was among the first to encounter aquaplaning; moments later all hell broke loose as Jack Perkins (#9) was sent left into Tony D’Alberto (#100) and then back across to the right.

Both Whincup and Perkins were lucky to escape being collected as they were sent spinning, although the latter did need a tow out of the sodden roadside grass.

Tickford teammates Zak Best (#55) and Jake Kostecki (#56) separately hit the wall while taking avoiding action, immediately ending the race of the Castrol Mustang, and D’Alberto, Mark Winterbottom (#18) and Jaxon Evans (#4) also sustained damage in the melee.

Perkins’ ZB Commodore crabbed back to the pitlane, where Erebus Motorsport managed to make the necessary repairs without dropping more than one lap.

Elephant in the room’: Reactions to opening lap chaos

Clear of the chaos, Lee Holdsworth (#10) – one of nine primary drivers to start the race – grabbed the lead ahead of Fabian Coulthard (#25), Warren Luff (#2), Greg Murphy (#51) and slow-starting pole-sitter Moffat.

The race restarted on Lap 5 but it wasn’t long before the Safety Car was back leading the field, as Zane Goddard (#5) blotted his copybook.

A lock-up trying to pass a cautious Murphy at The Chase sent the 22-year-old off-roading, and an out-of-control rejoin collected Dale Wood (#8) and Matt Campbell (#26) – all three copping severe damage.

Winterbottom was again in the wars, spun by D’Alberto amid efforts to sidestep the wrecked trio.

By the next restart, on Lap 10, it was Holdsworth from Coulthard, Luff, Moffat and Tander.

Adding another ingredient into the mix, rain started to fall around the circuit, forcing the slick-shod field to tiptoe around.

Through it all, Tim Slade (#3) was flying, up from 28th and last into the top 10 by Lap 12.

Holdsworth had built a five-second lead by the time the Safety Car was called for a third time, Jake Kostecki the catalyst after getting bogged at The Chase.

That sent the pitlane into overdrive, everyone bar Murphy and D’Alberto stopping.

Luff was the biggest loser out of the ensuing double-stacking, tumbling from fourth to 14th.

Brodie Kostecki aboard the #99 Boost Mobile Commodore. Pic: Nathan Wong

Triple Eight also had to stack Car #88 behind Car #97, the latter of which picked up a five-second penalty for an unsafe release.

When the race got going again on Lap 20, Brodie Kostecki and Cameron Waters (#6) were the only primary drivers in the top nine.

Waters moved his way to the front soon enough, taking the lead with a Lap 29 pass on an out-of-sequence D’Alberto at Hell Corner, as Kostecki battled power issues.

It was D’Alberto’s fellow Shell V-Power Racing Team co-driver Alex Davison (#17) who sparked the next Safety Car intervention, having got heartbreakingly close to rejoining from a Lap 30 excursion at The Chase before getting bogged.

And so, another pitstop flurry began, with alternate strategy runners Declan Fraser (#888) and Richie Stanaway (#51) leading the field back to green ahead of Waters, an elbows-out Brodie Kostecki, Mostert and van Gisbergen.

Waters was back to the front by the time the fifth Safety Car period began on Lap 42, after Tim Blanchard’s #3 CoolDrive Mustang was buried at Forrest’s Elbow following contact with Nick Percat (#2).

Van Gisbergen opted not to pit and thus inherited first position, while the Davison and Kostecki brothers were both waved back onto the lead lap.

The next to come unstuck was Moffat, who was spun by Brodie Kostecki at the Cutting soon after the latest restart, but miraculously kept the Monster Mustang out of the wall (albeit dropping to 21st).

Both the Blanchard/Percat and Moffat/Kostecki incidents went unpenalised.

Van Gisbergen and Percat enjoyed a case of good timing to get back in sync, pitting on Lap 55 and 56 respectively, moments before Macauley Jones (#96) found himself in the gravel trap near the pit entry.

Both cleared their compulsory brake rotor change, while for van Gisbergen (who hopped back out of the car) it provided a chance to finally serve his lingering five-second penalty.

Several took another chance to pit under yellows, making for a new-look order of Tander, Russell (#99), Anton De Pasquale (#100), Percat and Winterbottom a surprise fifth.

Coulthard was 11th, Moffat 16th and Will Davison 21st.

Another restart led to another incident, this time with Jake Kostecki spinning Murphy at Griffins Bend on Lap 61. Kostecki was subsequently issued a 15-second penalty.

The next two cars to lose ground were the #20 (Scott Pye/Tyler Everingham) and #31 (James Golding/Dylan O’Keeffe), both of whom were running solidly.

Everingham (#20) narrowly kept himself out of the Sulman Park wall before running through the McPhillamy Park gravel and making an unscheduled visit to the lane.

For the Subway Holden, it was a flapping front bar which needed back-to-back stops to be fixed.

The next pit cycle played out right around the midpoint of the 161-lap race, just after Percat had dropped out of contention with a double wall hit on the run to the Esses.

Percat did, at least, manage to wobble back to the pits, avoiding another Safety Car period.

Maybe just one last sentence: A slow brake change for De Pasquale/D’Alberto has dropped them to 12th, two spots behind the recovering #17 Shell Mustang.

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