Van Gisbergen praises Best’s racecraft
Saturday 30th July, 2022 - 9:14pm
Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen has given a positive appraisal of Zak Best’s racecraft despite some nervous moments for the Tickford Racing wildcard at The Bend.
Best pulled off a shock pole position in Qualifying for Race 21 at the OTR SuperSprint in just his second event start as a solo driver and would lead the contest for the first 10 laps.
By then, he had been cleared of a false start which was investigated by officials, and nearly ceded first position when he locked a brake and ran wide at the Turn 6 hairpin on Lap 9.
The 20-year-old would fall from second to an effective fifth in the pit stop cycle, but then maintained position for the balance of the 24-lapper which was won by van Gisbergen.
“He drove really well,” said the Red Bull Ampol Racing driver of Best, with whom he shared the front row.
“You could tell he was looking around a lot in his mirrors.
“It’s a big moment for him but he nailed the start and to stop and got away, and he was driving really well, had a lot of grip.
“It was good to race with him and when I got past him, he was clean and aware of where I was, and he’s doing a really good job.”
Van Gisbergen affirmed he had to be somewhat more cautious around someone he is not used to racing against but had no complaints about the young man steering the #78 Mustang.
“You have to think about it more – I don’t know the guy and he doesn’t care about my championship – but he’s the star of the day, it’s pretty awesome, big moment for him,” said the 33-year-old.
“It’s a little bit of caution but I got stuck and then I had to pull a pretty risky move to get past but, when he did see I was going for that pass, he was aware and gave me a lot of space and stopped a crash happening.
“He’s pretty good and I’m sure he’ll go pretty good in the future.”
Best’s pole position was not without controversy, however.
The two wildcards in the field, the other being Image Racing’s Jordan Boys, are understood to have received a different batch of tyres to their rivals, a situation which has caused ructions in the paddock.
Van Gisbergen, with his win and fastest lap bonus points, is now 323 points or the equivalent of more than a full event clear of Anton De Pasquale at the top of the championship after the Dick Johnson Racing driver finished ninth in Race 21.
Supercars action at The Bend continues tomorrow morning from 09:35 local time/10:05 AEST with for Qualifying for Race 22 and then Qualifying for Race 23.