SVG felt ‘like punching bag’ in ‘horror weekend’ finale

Shane van Gisbergen

Shane van Gisbergen says he felt like a ‘punching bag’ after being involved in several incidents including a clash with Fabian Coulthard in Race 6 at Albert Park.

The Triple Eight driver has endured a horror weekend at the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400 which continued in today’s final 13 lap heat.

Prior to that race he was the victim of a splitter mix-up in practice followed by an engine failure while fourth in Race 3, before losing a right rear wheel when holding ninth late on in Race 5. 

Van Gisbergen had qualified fifth but lost a spot on the run to Turn 3 and two more on the opening lap when he ran wide onto the grass on the exit of Turn 5.       

On Lap 2, he and Coulthard banged together after the former got alongside into Turn 11, then sent his compatriot up the Turn 13 run-off when he had a big lock-up and bumped the #12 DJR Team Penske Mustang side-to-side.

The following pack swamped the #97 Triple Eight ZB Commodore and contact with Lee Holdsworth saw van Gisbergen off the road at Turn 15.

He then had contact with Todd Hazelwood later in the race when he passed the Matt Stone Racing entry for 13th, where he remained on the road until the chequered flag.

However, stewards issued a 15 second penalty to van Gisbergen for the clash with Coulthard which ultimately saw the Kiwi classified in 22nd position. 

“That was the end of a horror weekend on our side of the garage. I felt like a punching bag in that race,” said van Gisbergen. 

“I started in fifth position and was hoping for a good start and clean race.

“I was supposed to then settle into the race to see if we could improve the car but everyone else had other ideas.

“It’s a real shame finishing almost last, but we need to move on and be better.”

Meanwhile, Coulthard has spoken with van Gisbergen after the race and was unaware that his rival had locked up before the contact. 

“A little bit disappointing,” said Coulthard.

“We’re going to be in with a good battle with Shane all year, and I expected a little bit more from him.

“I went and saw him afterwards, he explained his dramas that he had – I didn’t realise he was all locked up and out of control by the time he hit me.”

Van Gisbergen’s nightmare weekend has left him 11th in the standings while Coulthard has progressed to sixth.

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