Shane van Gisbergen ready to master the Mountain
Shane Van Gisbergen says he is ready to toss away his endurance racing L-plates and become a serious contender in Sunday’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
Van Gisbergen posted a brilliant lap to put his SP Tools Falcon on the second row after claiming the third fastest time in the single lap Shootout under a murky sky at Mount Panorama.
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The 23-year-old admits he has learnt some valuable lessons on the art of preserving his car in long distance racing since making his Mountain debut in 2007.
Van Gisbergen produced his best Bathurst result last year when he finished sixth with co-driver and fellow Kiwi John McIntyre.
Ironically that combination has split-up this year with Van Gisbergen now driving alongside accomplished co-driver Luke Youlden.
“Every year I seem to get better at understanding what’s needed,” Van Gisbergen told Speedcafe.com of his Bathurst form.
“Last year we had our best result but it still wasn’t good enough. I just need to keep learning how to look after the car and what to be nice to and where to keep the pace up. Then hopefully the last 20-30 laps you have got the car to win the race.”
Van Gisbergen was chuffed to feature in the spotlight and face the press throng almost an hour after completing his shootout duties.
“It’s pretty cool. After Thursday we would be just filling the field up because the car wasn’t very good at all,” he said.
“The boys in the crew have done a great job and Luke (Youlden) as well. Obviously we had to produce in qualifying to get in the Shootout. Just to be third at Bathurst is unreal.”
“It was tough to go out and do one lap. I chose all my markers (braking reference points) and hit them and got the time in the end.”
SBR, like most of the leading teams, are yet to finalise their strategy for the 161-lap marathon and it is not known whether the starting duties will in fact be handed to Van Gisbergen.
Bathurst’s fickle weather which turned on its multiple personalities today is forecast to surface again tomorrow.
See below for Speedcafe.com’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 Race Guide.