Ford driver Cameron Waters has overcome his Perth heartbreak to secure a thrilling Supercars win at Winton Motor Raceway over championship leader Shane van Gisbergen.
The Tickford Racing star denied van Gisbergen in a heart-stopping final lap of the opening race of the Winton SuperSprint to claim his first win since last year’s Townsville event in July.
The victory also comes just weeks after being denied a win at the Perth SuperNight event in controversial circumstances.
Waters was left shattered after crossing the line first in the second of three races in Western Australia but ended up being classified fourth after the imposition of a five-second penalty for an incident during the race as he tussled for the lead with eventual winner Will Davison.
Having left Wanneroo Raceway feeling he’d been robbed of a breakthrough success, Waters erased that disappointed with a fine drive in the first Supercars race at Winton since 2019.
Having got the jump on pole-sitter van Gisbergen off the start line, Waters held onto the lead through the mandatory pit stops but had to come through a nailbiting final lap with the Holden star pushing him all the way.
The pair actually touched on the final turn, leaving van Gisbergen with damage to the front of his Commodore, but Waters held on for a relieving win for both driver and team.
“It was an awesome race,” Waters told Fox Sports.
“Got the start and just knew I had to kind of look after the tyres and get it done.
“I knew he (van Gisbergen) was probably a little bit quicker, even through that first stint, so I just had to have something in the tank for the end.
“Knew he’d have a crack and awesome to come out on top.
“I’m just absolutely pumped. I’ve had an up and down start to the year and just a massive relief.”
Van Gisbergen’s second place actually extends his championship lead to 196 points from Shell V-Power Racing’s Anton De Pasquale, who finished eighth.
Penrite Racing’s David Reynolds used a different pit strategy to maximise his Ford’s good pace and it paid off as he came home third for his third podium of the season.
Teammate Lee Holdsworth finished fifth, just behind Walkinshaw Andretti United’s Chaz Mostert, who bounced back well from a shocking weekend in Perth to come home fourth.
A day that started so well for Erebus Motorsport’s Will Brown quickly soured meanwhile, with the 23-year-old cruelled by a disastrous pit stop.
Brown made a terrific start off the line, getting ahead of van Gisbergen and temporarily up into second.
He looked set to push for a first podium of the year when he pitted midway through the race but a clutch issue and an incorrectly fitted rear tyre left him temporarily stranded in pit lane.
Brown eventually rejoined the action but the time wasted on the stop and a subsequent pit lane penalty ended in the No.9 Commodore limping home dead last in 27th position.
The Winton SuperSprint event wraps up on Sunday with two more 36-lap races.