De Pasquale on fire as Supercars return

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Ford's Anton De Pasquale has completed a perfect return, winning Saturday's night race as the Supercars championship ended its three-month COVID hiatus.

The Shell V-Power Racing star, who was fastest in practice on Friday, continued to set the pace at Sydney Motorsport Park on Saturday.

De Pasquale claimed his fifth pole position of the season before leading from start to finish in the 32-lap race under lights in a dominant display.

Championship leader Shane Van Gisbergen finished a distant second, more than five seconds behind De Pasquale's Mustang at the chequered flag.

It's the 26-year-old's second race win in his first season with the team, having jumped into the seat vacated by three-time champion Scott McLaughlin in the off-season.

Sitting sixth in the championship, De Pasquale said finding his place within a team with title ambitions was still a work in progress.

"Racing such experienced guys who've been in the category for a long time it's something I'm constantly working on and trying to get better," he told Fox Sports.

"These guys (Shell V-Power Racing) put on a good show in quali, the thing turns on for the tyre and that sort of stuff.

"Which as a driver you love and you get confidence in so you know that you can push for that one lap but, yeah, converting that to racing is sort of what I'm trying to work on.

"I've been working on it through the summer and then also trying to work on more this year and I'll be working on it for the next 10 years.

"It's getting better and better but you're racing guys that have been doing it for a long time. Got a lot of notches on their belt.

"So just trying to get to that level which is the fun part."

Van Gisbergen started the race sixth after a disappointing lap in the top 10 shootout for pole position, but made three places off the start and overcame tyre degradation issues to finish second.

His 16th podium finish of the season combined with teammate Jamie Whincup's ninth-place means the Red Bull Ampol Racing star's championship lead has now extended further to 312 points.

"I had a good start and then carved up a few ... it was cool fun. Good to be back racing," Van Gisbergen said.

Erebus's Brodie Kostecki made a late charge to secure third place, passing Holden's Nick Percat in the final laps for his second podium finish of the season.

In a race that was low on incident, De Pasquale held off a first lap challenge from Erebus youngster Will Brown to sprint clear of the field and wasn't headed despite Van Gisbergen's climb through the chasing pack.

Brown, who started a Supercars race on the front row of a grid for the first time in his career, came home fifth.

The 23-year-old could have had an even better result but a minor mistake in his mandatory pit stop as his crew changed tyres cost him valuable seconds.

Ford star Cameron Waters, the winner the last time Supercars held a race back in July on the streets of Townsville, finished a disappointing 13th and has dropped behind Chaz Mostert and Will Davison in the championship standings.

The action continues with two more 32-lap races on Sunday to conclude what is the first of four straight weekends of racing at the western Sydney circuit.

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