After securing a place in the top 10 shoot-out, Heimgartner used a calculated strategy to come home in sixth, just behind Walkinshaw Racing’s James Courtney.
Heimgartner had to do it the hard way, though, after his cool suit failed midway through the race, forcing him to battle through the heat to record his outstanding result.
Rick Kelly came home in 17th place, enough to wrap up eighth in the championship and the highest placed Nissan driver across the 16 round Supercars season.
Michael Caruso finished 19th, while Simona De Silvestro had an up and down race, making a number of great passes but was wiped out by Tim Blanchard, causing significant damage. The Swiss ace eventually finished the race in 23rd.
And after six years of great support, the event marked the final race with the factory backing of Nissan Motor Co. Australia.
The Supercars Championship reconvenes 2019 with the traditional opening round at the Adelaide 500 on March 28-31.
#7 PLUS FITNESS RACING – ANDRE HEIMGARTNER : “It is good to get this result. I desperately wanted the next place, but I had nothing left in me,” said Andre Heimgartner. “I had a cool suit failure which made it really difficult, especially at the end. We had two really solid races this weekend. To have the speed to be up there was a really good thing. I am really happy with how the round panned out.”
#15 CASTROL RACIN – RICK KELL : “We had a job today to secure the best possible position in the championship, we could have come as high as seventh or as low as ninth, so we put it all on the line to get seventh,” said Rick Kelly. “The only way we were going to do that was with a risky strategy. If we did what everyone else was doing, it wasn’t going to work. “We pitted on lap one, our car today was a lot better, and we drove up to what was eighth, but unfortunately, the safety car came at exactly at the wrong time. Our fuel hose time was 15 second longer than everyone else and we lost the spots. We were able to catch the pack, but I didn’t want to get involved in anything because Fabian (Coulthard) had his struggles which meant we had eighth secured. So today was all about our final championship position and I’m really pleased to have finished eighth overall. We had some wins and podiums this year and while we always strive for the top, this is a good final result.”
#23 INDUSTRIAL ATHLETE – MICHAEL CARUS : “It was a disappointing way to finish the year,” said Michael Caruso. “This year has been extremely tough. The team has done its best, and we had some good results through the year, but a lot of the issues have been out of my control. 2018 is over, I’ve put it behind me and I want to move on as fast as I can.”
#78 TEAM HARVEY NORMAN – SIMONA DE SILVESTR : “I got stuck in traffic, which was frustrating, but then when we got clear air, it was OK and we had good pace,” said Simona De Silvestro. “We had a good set of tyres for the end, but then I was involved in an incident when I got taken out. I don’t know, maybe some people can’t handle it when they get passed! It has been a frustrating year, but we’ll move onto next season and keep fighting.”
Press release Nissan Motorsport