Bathurst 12 Hour pace deficit ‘humbled’ van Gisbergen

The Mann-Filter Mercedes-AMG GT3. Picture: Ross Gibb

Shane van Gisbergen admits he was somewhat put in his place by the international stars who rocked up to the Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour last weekend.

It wasn’t just van Gisbergen but the entire fleet of drivers rotating through the #888 Mercedes-AMG GT3 who struggled for pace all weekend.

All told, third place was not a bad result for the van Gisbergen/Broc Feeney/Prince Jefri Ibrahim combination.

The entry did not place higher than fifth at any stage throughout practice, qualifying and the Top 10 Shootout, and did not have the speed to stick with the lead pair of Jules Gounon (#75 SunEnergy1 Mercedes) and Maro Engel (#91 Craft-Bamboo Racing Mercedes) in the final double stint.

Audi’s Kelvin van der Linde was perhaps fastest of all, but found himself a lap down in fourth due to a two-minute penalty.

“We didn’t quite have the speed but it’s a pretty amazing result… an AMG one-two-three, especially how we all felt after qualifying,” said van Gisbergen, who wound up 1:35.3671s behind Gounon.

“The car was solid, we just didn’t quite have the speed, but stayed out of trouble, no mistakes and kept going all day.”

As the man who has blitzed the Repco Supercars Championship for the past 15 months, van Gisbergen relished the chance to test himself against some of the world’s best GT drivers.

“It’s always good. I’ve been pretty humbled this weekend though, but just haven’t been able to get the speed going,” he said.

“If I didn’t look at the stopwatch I’d be loving life, but seeing guys half a second, a second up the road, it’s a bit tough.

“But as we said, we kept it straight and got to the end.”

Van Gisbergen reserved special praise for Ibrahim.

“It was Prince Jefri’s first endurance race; he did really well, especially when it was raining and he was on the slicks and had to get those extra couple of laps to mainly stay on the lead lap but also get his driving time, it was pretty cool,” said the Kiwi.

“Proud of him for that.”

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