Van Gisbergen does not feel like round winner

Shane van Gisbergen

Shane van Gisbergen does not feel like the ‘round winner’ at The Bend after a relative struggle of a weekend.

Van Gisbergen collected 247 points from the three races which made up the OTR SuperSprint, more than anyone else managed, and extended his championship lead over Red Bull Ampol Racing team-mate Jamie Whincup from 139 points to 190 in the process.

Round winners have not been officially recognised in the Repco Supercars Championship since 2008, with limited exceptions, although the metric arguably remains an important indicator of a driver’s performance across an event.

The New Zealander finished seventh in Saturday’s Race 9, a result he deemed “pretty good” considering the “horrible” day, then managed to bag a third placing from 13th on the grid in Race 10.

Second spot on a podium rounded out by Will Davison in Race 11 was decisive in terms of who left The Bend with the biggest haul of points for the weekend, given the Dick Johnson Racing driver was next-best on 238.

Van Gisbergen was unsuccessful in trying to snatch victory from Cameron Waters in the event’s curtain-closer, which he put down to the difficulty in following a modern Supercar.

However, Waters and another of his key championship rivals, Chaz Mostert, were DNFs in Race 10 as a result of their coming-together on Lap 1, and they took 185 and 166 points from the event, respectively.

“It doesn’t feel like a round win,” said van Gisbergen.

“We really struggled for pace all weekend, but [were] just consistent, stayed out of trouble.

“The last race was quite good.

“I only had one shot to pass him and couldn’t quite make it work at Turn 1, and then he just put the car in the right spots and [I] couldn’t get there.

“It’s modern Supercars – we harp on about it – you just can’t follow, and if you’ve got someone in front of you with half an idea how to drive, you just can’t pass them.

“It’s a shame, really, especially when we aren’t nailing qualifying at the moment.

“This style of track, we haven’t been that good at, the last couple of years, so we still need to improve, mainly qualifying.”

Whincup had a similar take on how his weekend played out.

The seven-time champion recorded race results of sixth, 11th, and then fourth, from ninth, 15th, and the second on the grid, respectively.

While he qualified an especially long way back for Race 10, his cause was not helped by the positions lost in the above mentioned melee.

Whincup was also held up by Anton De Pasquale’s ailing Mustang in Race 11, which helped van Gisbergen make an early pass.

“We got caught up in traffic for the first qualifying session today but then got it together in the second and gave ourselves an opportunity for a podium, but we just didn’t quite have the pace,” he lamented.

“We weren’t far off; we were third or fourth on pace and ran that sort of position all weekend.

“We didn’t make any luck, but it also didn’t fall our way.

“The incident on Lap 1 of the first race [Race 10], I zigged, I should have zagged. I got caught up with Anton [De Pasquale] with his broken engine in the second race [Race 11] which meant Shane was on me so then he got past.

“We just couldn’t take a trick this weekend and unfortunately didn’t get a podium, which is what we’re always aiming for.

“I’ll pull my finger out for the next one.”

The next event is the Winton SuperSprint, on May 29-30.

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