Supercars 2022 news, results, analysis, Adelaide 500, Broc Feeney, rookies, debutants, championship trophy, doughnuts, burnouts

Sportem
Sportem
17 Min Read

The lifeblood of motorsport is new winners, and the Supercars was certainly feeling revitalised on Sunday night in Adelaide.

Broc Feeney had mounted the top step of the podium for the first time in his senior career, putting a neat full stop on a rookie season that started with some considerable hype.

The 20-year-old put in a Sunday performance well judged beyond his years to record a gritty victory ahead of a sieging Chaz Mostert. The Queenslander had laid down a marker at the end of a solid rookie season. He’s ready to contend at the point end of the championship next year.

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It was also a poignant way to send out Holden from the top tier of Australian motorsport — just down the road from its first headquarters and with a man named Broc behind the wheel. It certainly has a nice ring to it.

Some 258,000 people came through the gates over four days to bear witness to Feeney’s tribute to Holden for its swan song in Adelaide’s first race since 2020 — that was up from the 206,000 people who attended the last race three years ago, a succinct answer to those who would have us believe the event had fallen out of favour.

The famous parklands track turned it on for the expectant crowd. The new track surface proved an unforgiving beast, but while some struggled with changeable grip conditions, others shone under the glorious South Australian sunshine to turn in a masterclass of race management and controlled aggression.

WINNER: BROC FEENEY AND A PRE-SEASON PROJECTION

Rewind to March this year, and Mark Skaife described Super2 champion Feeney’s imminent arrival in the Supercars championship as “the most anticipated debut for a rookie of this type since (Craig) Lowndes in 1996”.

It was always going to be a tall order to emulate Lowndes’s glittering and title-winning debut. The modern-day series is a different beast that rewards experience in these peculiar beastly machines.

But then again the likeness wasn’t a million miles off either.

What Feeney lacked in blistering pace he made up for in consistency and progress as an increasingly strong qualifier and constant presence in the top 10.

Impressively for a rookie, he failed to finish only one race — last round at the Gold Coast, where he was faultlessly caught up in an early pile-up.

Broc Feeney breaks through in Adelaide! | 01:44

Certainly he had his rookie days — Saturday was a case in point, finding himself in the walls more than once — but they were always backed up with stronger performances.

On Sunday that meant claiming his first race win and third Supercars podium.

He did it in superb style by starting from third, forcing Will Davison into an error early and then absorbing pressure from Chaz Mostert late.

He even saved his personal-best lap for the final tour, ensuring there could be no doubting the quality and assuredness of the drive.

It was all impressive stuff for someone who was 19 years old for most of the season, and even if they didn’t make for a Lowndes-tier debut, they’re more reflective of the early campaigning of another great of the sport.

Jamie Whincup’s debut into the championship looked nothing like the heights he would later achieve — in fact he was sacked by Garry Rogers Motorsport after only one-full time season.

But once he got back onto the grid in 2005 he showed signs that a consistent force was lurking beneath the surface.

In 2006 he won his first race — on Sunday at the Adelaide 500 for Triple Eight, starting from third and just beating Todd Kelly’s Holden Racing Team car, the precursor to WAU.

Eerily familiar.

It took Feeney only 34 races to mount the top step to Whincup’s 56. Jamie finished that year 10th in the standings, while Broc finished sixth.

Whincup went on to win a record seven titles and 124 races.

How many might Feeney win?

WILDCARD: One last shot | 00:39

WINNER: HOLDEN RACING TEAM(S)

Feeney’s win was the icing on the cake of Holden’s final ever Supercars race, with the iconic Australian brand taking its final bow after the company was shuttered two years ago.

A day earlier Walkinshaw Andretti United had claimed a surprise one-two finish on the Adelaide streets just kilometres from where Holden had first set up shop in 1856.

It was particularly fitting given WAU was the first official Holden factory squad, making its debut in 1990 as the Holden Racing Team. It carried Holden backing until 2017, when General Motors switched allegiance to Triple Eight.

WAU has made the decision to switch to Ford under the Gen3 rules to be introduced next season. It came as a real shock to long-term fans of the sport, many of whom consider their support for Holden and the Clayton team to be inextricably intertwined.

As a final salute, WAU dressed up both cars in a 1990s-era HRT liver, featuring the silhouette lion and driver on a white body.

Those worried it was tempting fate needn’t have been concerned. The team scored the best Adelaide result in its entire history, having never finished one-two at the parklands track before this final weekend.

The charge was led by Chaz Mostert, who took his fifth victory of the season to get within 73 points of runner-up in the championship.

But it was highlighted by Nick Percat.

Percat’s family has worked at Holden’s Adelaide plant for generations. Arriving in town for his first home race for the former factory team in the brand’s final ever weekend in the top tier, he was determined to score a big result.

The four-time winner has had a dreadful first year in WAU colours, but a perfectly judged strategy while other teams faltered with fuel stops saw him complete the dream result.

“That’s the coolest thing I’ve ever been involved in,” he said. “For me, watching this race as a young kid and being a tragic HRT fan, those last four-five laps I was like, ‘This is actually unbelievable’

“I’ve watched this as a fan, climbing a tree to see these kinds of moments as a kid.”

Mostert takes out chaotic race 33! | 02:03

Triple Eight Race Engineering, which has been the General Motors-backed entry since 2017, completed the Holden sweep on Sunday with Broc Feeney, with Mostert finishing a close second.

Van Gisbergen was on track to finish in the top three before a late penalty.

They had to work for it, but Holden’s two historic teams sent the brand out on a high.

LOSER: SHANE VAN GISBERGEN

It’s a bit of a stretch to call Shane van Gisbergen a loser at the end of a weekend on which he picked up his third championship trophy, but this was an uncharacteristically scrappy weekend for the otherwise dominant Kiwi.

Van Gisbergen arrived in Adelaide determined to be the driver to send off Holden in style. The pressure was off after confirming the title at the Gold Coast; only pride was really at stake.

But from Friday qualifying things were looking grim. He was dead last in the running order thanks to a decision to leave his ultimate flying lap until the dying minutes, leaving himself without enough time to recover from a late mistake.

His progress on Saturday was then hampered by a broken front anti-roll bar. He’d risen to seventh, but he came off second best in a battle with Mostert that put him into the wall and dumped him to 21st.

Another comeback to 11th followed, but he then made himself one of turn 11’s many victims with an unforced error that put him into the wall.

He finished a heavily damaged 20th.

His Sunday was better but marred by controversy over him speeding in pit lane at the end of qualifying. He was allowed to partake in the shootout after being fined, but he confessed to being so worked up about the stewards investigation that he qualified fourth.

His race was then hampered by a long double stack behind Feeney, and his recovery to the podium was then undone by a late decision to slap him with a drive-through penalty for pulling alongside Lee Holdsworth before the final apex during a safety car restart, leaving him seventh.

It was a weird and underwhelming way to have ended a season of unprecedented dominance by the three-time champion. Mostert in particular also made the Kiwi a rare victim in a wheel-to-wheel, elbows-out battle, something few drivers can claim to have done this season.

All time BURNOUTS as SVG runs WILD | 01:50

Is that the glimmer of hope the field needs to up the ante in 2023?

If it is, Van Gisbergen’s epic burnout display upon picking up his title trophy might’ve generated just enough smoke to shroud it again.

WINNER: LEE HOLDSWORTH

Not every sportsperson can bow out at the top of their game. That feels particularly true in motorsport, when entire years can slip by based on the competitiveness of your machinery.

But Lee Holdsworth, 18 years after first setting foot in a Supercars machine, gave it a good crack and returned to his garage on Sunday night having put it all on the table.

He’d turned a lacklustre qualifying result of 22nd earlier the day into an aggressive drive to ninth.

It was a crucial result for Grove, which was locked in a tight battle with Erebus for fifth in the teams championship.

Only Shane van Gisbergen’s late recovery put Holdsworth of his rhythm, and he let Brodie Kostecki slip by in a double overtake after he was pushed off the clean racing line, but he held ninth ahead of James Golding and Mark Winterbottom to score a crucial 84 points.

With David Reynolds down in 15th — Holdsworth also beat his teammate on Saturday too — it was just enough to claim fifth by a slender 10 points as well as to secure him 13th in the final championship order.

“It was an enjoyable drive for me today with a lot of passing to finish top 10,” Holdsworth said.

“I’m happy that I’ve been able to contribute in helping get the team home for fifth in the championship.”

It was as good a result as Holdsworth could hope to secure in his mid-grid machinery, but more than that was the fact that he was able to retire under his own steam rather than after being pushed out of the sport, as he was two years ago before getting a lifeline from Grove.

“Thanks to everyone in the team for their work this year and to the Grove family for giving me the chance to go out on my own terms as a full-time driver,” he said.

Binotto quits as Ferrari team principal | 00:33

LOSER: SCOTT PYE

Team 18 and Scott Pye in particular haven’t had a lot of luck this year, but they looked on to receive a long-overdue boost on Saturday in Adelaide.

Pye had enjoyed his best qualifying result in six years to put his car second and set himself up as Mostert’s chief challenger for victory for much of the race.

He lost a bit of momentum through the timing of the safety car on lap 51, dropping him to seventh but still with the pace to recover a strong finish.

But in his hasty comeback he crashed with Bryce Fullwood at turn 9.

Pye was late on the brakes on the inside line, while Fullwood came in wide and heavy to give the Team 18 car a door-to-door whack.

It put both of them down the order, but the contact wasn’t heavy enough to cause serious damage — or so you would’ve thought.

Smoke immediately began pouring from Pye’s car. A power steering hose had blown. His afternoon and the chance of a dream home result were over.

It was a painful blow at the end of a gruelling year, and Pye was clearly emotional afterwards.

“This race means everything,” he said. “I am just gutted.”

“It was looking like a pretty special day today, with qualifying yesterday, making it into the shootout and then today moving forwards to the front row of the grid.

“I’m really disappointed. It’s a tough one to take as everyone has done such an amazing job and the car was super fast.

“I felt like we could have won, it might have been a close one with Cam and I. First or second is what I had my eyes firmly set on during that race and that’s what I thought we could have achieved.”

It was Pye’s sixth DNF — eighth if you include two failures to start thanks to crash prior instances of crash damage — that left him 16th on the title table.

On an emotional weekend in Adelaide, Pye had fallen on the wrong side of the fine line between pleasure and pain.

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