Motorsport: Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen forced to concede place to teammate in dramatic Supercars milestone

Kiwi ace Shane van Gisbergen has finished his landmark 500th Supercars race fuming, ordered to concede a place to teammate Broc Feeney late at Townsville.

After a disastrous qualifying session that relegated him to the back of the field at the start, the two-time defending champion brought his car through the pack to contend for the podium, passing Feeney for fourth with six laps remaining.

Red Bull Ampol management stepped in, instructing him to hand the position back to Feeney, who had finished second in Saturday's race and was in contention to win the round.

"Why do I have to give it back, I just passed him," insisted van Gisbergen over race radio.

Shane van Gisbergen celebrates his maiden NASCAR victory at Chicago
Shane van Gisbergen celebrates his maiden NASCAR victory at Chicago. Photo credit: Getty Images

As he argued the toss, van Gisbergen opened a four-second advantage over his stablemate, but ultimately slowed down the home straight, as Feeney roared past to claim the round honours.

Needless to say, the Kiwi was not impressed and let his bosses know, after exiting the car - a stack contrast to pre-race celebration of his 500th outing.

Van Gisbergen finished fourth on Saturday, closing on the championship lead, but struggled with handling all weekend, which came back to bite him in qualifying for Sunday. He strayed off the track during his fastest run of the session and finished more than five seconds behind polesitter Cam Waters.

Early on, he spun off the track and lagged more than six seconds last, but patiently worked his way through the field to put pressure on the frontrunners.

That progress came to an abrupt halt, after his pass on Feeney, who had burnt his tyres out, trying to chase down a podium finish. Management had encouraged that pursuit on the understanding that his teammate would not attempt a pass.

The conflict did not go unnoticed by Red Bull Ampol's rivals.

"It was amusing and funny," said Erebus Motosport chief executive Barry Ryan, who has a similar challenge, managing championship frontrunners Will Brown and Brodie Kostecki.

"If they have more arguments, they're going slower, so that's good for us."

Anton de Pasquale finished five seconds clear for his first win of the season, with Kostecki second and Kiwi Andre Heimgartner. 

The result capped a spectacular week for van Gisbergen, who made a cameo appearance on the American NASCAR circuit and made history, with a maiden victory in his debut race at Chicago.

Afterwards, he confirmed he had one more year on the Supercars circuit, before pursuing a fulltime drive in the United States.

Ironically, his fifth placing has brought van Gisbergen closer to Supercars championship leader Brown, who finished one spot behind in sixth.

Entering the 17th race of the season, the Kiwi lagged 82 points behind Brown in fourth, but shaved a further nine points off that advantage, as the title race tightened. 

Next stop for the Supercars circuit is the Sydney Supernight on July 28-30.

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