05 Mar 2018
SHANE VAN GISBERGEN has described his fourth consecutive race win on the streets of Adelaide as ‘pretty amazing’ as he positions himself just one outright victory behind Jamie Whincup at the top of the table.
The 28-year-old Kiwi had to do it much harder on Sunday than he strategic masterstroke on Saturday, with a closing laps battle with David Reynolds and Garth Tander eventually falling in his favour.
But as has become customary at the Adelaide Street Circuit, the Red Bull Holden Racing Team Commodore beneath him was good enough to take the chequered flag.
Van Gisbergen admitted the battles he faced on Sunday were far greater than at any point on the weekend.
Lacking traction and concerns about a possible puncture spot near the apex of Turn 7 that claimed rival and compatriot Scott McLaughlin on lap 25 all played into Van Gisbergen’s mind throughout the day, not to mention his need to defend against David Reynolds and Garth Tander in the closing stages of the race.
He was also disappointed to lose teammate Jamie Whincup, who bowed out of the race lead with a transmission failure.
However, the new championship leader was thrilled to exit Adelaide with a perfect 300 points heading into the next round at Albert Park.
“Firstly, it’s been a pretty amazing couple of years – four-in-a-row and four shootouts in a row – it’s pretty special,” Van Gisbergen said of his victory.
“I’m not sure what it is about this place, but I love driving it and I’ve had some pretty cool cars here.”
“The race itself, obviously Jamie had the car to beat today, we went a bit far with our setup and were no good compared to yesterday, so it’s a real shame we couldn’t get a 1-2.”
Of his battle with Reynolds, Van Gisbergen was surprised to be given so much room at the Turn 9 Hairpin after the Erebus Penrite driver.
Erebus got their man in front of the race after the second round of pit stops, but on cold tyres compared to the hot sets beneath Van Gisbergen and Tander.
While Reynolds was able to defend through the series of 90-degree turns up East Terrace, he left too much space for Van Gisbergen at the hairpin and surrendered the lead.
“We had an OK middle stint and I knew it was going to be close with Davy [after the pit stops],” Van Gisbergen said.
“I had a little moment at turn four, I should’ve probably gone to the outside but I had Garth right behind me.
“I knew I had one more shot through into nine, and sure enough he left the door open, which was a little surprising.”
While Reynolds was disappointed to lose the lead of the race, his vastly improved performance compared to previous years has him sitting second in the championship.
It’s a result he would take every day of the week.
“I honestly never believed I could do a good job here,” Reynolds said.
“If you said I was going to be fourth and second [in Adelaide] and second in the championship coming out of this round, I’d take it every day of the week.
“A part of me is kind of happy, but also disappointed that I didn’t try to win the race.
“I knew it was for the lead, but I expected him to be so far up the road that I’m not usually a factor in it.”
Tander also recovered from a tough day in Saturday’s opening race to qualify inside the top 10 and elevate to the podium by the close of racing on Sunday afternoon.
It’s a good result for the Supercars veteran, who sits sixth in the championship.
“We had a good car yesterday [Saturday], from Friday night to Saturday morning the car was a lot better,” said Tander.
“We got caught up in everyone else’s drama. Today we qualified fourth in qualifying, then back to eighth in the shootout.
“It was a good job with pit stops, a good job with strategy.”
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