Van Gisbergen explains Davison run-in

The Race 23 podium of (left to right) runner-up Jamie Whincup, winner Shane van Gisbergen, and third placed finisher Will Davison

Shane van Gisbergen has admitted he made a mistake when Will Davison was fed into the dirt exiting the first corner of Race 23 of the Repco Supercars Championship.

Davison took umbrage at the championship leader after being run out of road on the way out of Sydney Motorsport Park’s Moffat Corner, his Shell V-Power Racing Team Mustang slewing sideways as it straddled the edge of the sawtoothed kerb.

He dropped to sixth in the order in the moments which followed, down two positions from where he started, but would go on to finish third after the first 32 laps of racing at the Armor All Sydney SuperSprint.

The Dick Johnson Racing driver hung on to that podium position by staving off Brad Jones Racing’s Nick Percat, who was virtually stuck to the rear bar of Car #17 for several laps.

Davison stated in reference to van Gisbergen in his post-race television interview that “I don’t know what his problem is with me,” but, in the press conference which followed, was notably glowing of how Percat raced him.

“It was a bit of a tricky race for me, pretty tricky opening stint, and then we went aggressive, came in Lap 5, and just tried to hang on,” he recalled.

“It was [an] awesome battle with Nick, he was super fair, I was in all sorts of trouble, but I really wanted to hang on.”

Asked then to elaborate on his comments on television, Davison explained, “I just asked if he [van Gisbergen] saw me on the outside of [Turn] 1.

“I think he just understeered into me, so it’s never ideal trying to go side-by-side, but that’s racing, so just ended off in the boonies, second time in a couple of weeks actually.

“But we try and race hard, try and race fair, but I was just interested to know what happened.”

Van Gisbergen agreed with that recount, although he claimed that Davison then ran long under brakes at Bond Bend (Turn 2), where the door opened for two other cars to go through.

“That’s exactly what happened,” said the Red Bull Ampol Racing driver.

“But when he went off, I backed off and let him back on, and then he went wide at [Turn] 2.

“But, yeah, it was my mistake. He crowded me, took air off the outside, and I understeered, but my fault.”

While van Gisbergen was obviously contrite in making those remarks, there was an awkward moment minutes prior when he was invited to give his assessment of the tyre regulations for the weekend, which compel drivers to use both the soft and hard compounds in each race.

The 2016 champion mentioned “the good DJR car”, an obvious reference to the entry steered by Anton De Pasquale, who has prevailed in 10 out of 13 sessions so far in the last nine days at Sydney Motorsport Park.

The exceptions are a race last weekend from which De Pasquale was disqualified due to a team breach of sporting regulations having muffed the start anyway, and then a transaxle failure in Qualifying for Race 23 which consigned him to last on the grid, from which he only salvaged a finish of 12th.

“I thought, before the race, that we were all going to be put in a box and going to pit early, but it actually was OK,” declared van Gisbergen.

“There were differences in speed and stuff so it surprised me, but we’ll see what happens in the race tomorrow, once people have figured it out a bit and it’s going to be hotter – or it might rain.

“But, it was good to be competitive. I guess the good DJR car wasn’t up front, so we don’t know if we’re really that fast, but we’ll see.”

It was then that Davison expressed his apparent disbelief, saying, “F**ken has me off at [Turn] 1, has a dig in the press conference.”

Van Gisbergen turned to Davison to say, “You know what I mean,” before Race 23 runner-up Jamie Whincup interjected from the opposite side of the desk, “It’s actually a compliment, Davo, it’s a compliment.”

The race winner concluded, “But you know what I mean? We’ll see how fast we are tomorrow [today] because he’ll [De Pasquale] be up front,” before adding, “It came out wrong.”

Van Gisbergen’s gap at the head of the standings is now 346 points, with Whincup remaining second and Davison similarly consolidating third.

Qualifying for Race 24 and Qualifying for Race 25 take place today from 14:30 local time/AEDT.

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