THERE'S a reason they call it an endurance event.
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Defending Bathurst 1000 champion Shane van Gisbergen stood atop the Mount Panorama podium once again on Sunday after his two closest pursuers battled mechanical issues late in the race.
It's the third Great Race victory for van Gisbergen in the space of four years and a maiden Bathurst 1000 success for his co-driver Richie Stanaway.
Erebus Motorsport's Brodie Kostecki and David Russell battled with a late steering issue to still finish in second while the Shell V Power Racing duo of Anton de Pasquale and Tony D'Alberto were third.
Broc Feeney was sitting second and within striking range of his Triple Eight Race Engineering teammate van Gisbergen when a shifting issue cruelly ended his race with 25 laps to go.
Van Gisbergen was battling a variety of his own issues but his #97 Camaro held together long enough to get him across the line.
The winning pair are just the second all-New Zealand combination to take the top step on the podium in the race after Steven Richards and Greg Murphy achieved the feat in 1999.
It was the ultimate farewell to Mount Panorama for van Gisbergen as a full-time Supercars driver as he gets set to begin his NASCAR career in the United States from 2024.
Kostecki's car had been the one dominating practice sessions throughout the round but van Gisbergen knew the team were building towards a great Sunday.
"We were under the radar pretty much throughout practice. We did a lot of race runs and focused a lot on that, and the soft tyre here and trying to make the car last through a stint," he said.
"We tried a combination of setups but our long runs looked really good. We were down on Dave and Brodie's times but we knew we were going to be strong in the race.
"To get Richie back into the sport, and seeing how he is this year with his drive, determination and focus on and off the track, has been really cool."
Van Gisbergen said he did have his share of nervous moments across the final stint.
"I had so many problems with the car at the end there," he said.
"There was the rack, the clutch and our last set of brakes wasn't good. Rubber kept falling out of the splitter. They were saying that they were pulling 'footballs' of rubber every stop out of the splitter.
"With five laps to go I had one fall out and hit the right rear tyre and I had a big slide. That wasn't very nice. I was just hoping the thing could hold together."
It's a first-time victory for the Camaro brand in the Bathurst 1000 as the race celebrated its 60th anniversary this year.
Showcasing just how tough it is to be consistently strong at the Mount, van Gisbergen became the first driver to defend a Bathurst 1000 crown since Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes won three straight from 2006 to '08.
Sunday's edition of the Bathurst 1000 was one full of green flag running.
Only three safety car periods were needed over the 161 laps, and the latest of those came way back at the halfway point of the race when James Moffat crashed his Tickford Racing Mustang at The Dipper.
Van Gisbergen took control of proceedings two thirds of the way into the race after Russell had been the one dictating terms in the middle portion.
It became a Triple Eight Racing 1-2 after the penultimate round of pit stops when Feeney jumped ahead of Kostecki.
The race looked to be becoming a three-car race at that point, with van Gisbergen holding a 10 second advantage over Feeney with a further eight seconds back to Kostecki.
Both van Gisbergen and Kostecki reported issues after that stop - with brake pedal and steering concerns respectively - but it would be Feeney who would be struck with the most devastating blow.
Feeney was trailing his teammate by around five seconds when his gear mount malfunctioned - an identical issue to the one that plagued the team's Craig Lowndes-driven wildcard entry earlier in the day.
Following the final round of pit stops the gap between van Gisbergen and the pursuing Kostecki ballooned out to 23 seconds, and it was going to take something wild to shake up the standings.
That never eventuated, leaving Kostecki to pick up his second Bathurst podium finish while de Pasquale still enjoyed his first top three finish in the event.
Van Gisbergen's win has reduced the gap between himself and leader Kostecki in the Supercars Championship battle to just 131 points with four races to go.
Van Gisbergen joins Dick Johnson as a three-time winner of the Great Race.
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