VAN GISBERGEN'S FOCUS NOW TURNS TO SECOND V8 SUPERCAR SERIES ROUND IN SYDNEY He's the toast of the New Zealand motor racing fraternity but Stone Brothers Racing's Shane Van Gisbergen ( ...
VAN GISBERGEN'S FOCUS NOW TURNS TO SECOND V8 SUPERCAR SERIES ROUND IN SYDNEY
He's the toast of the New Zealand motor racing fraternity but Stone Brothers Racing's Shane Van Gisbergen (#9SP Tools Ford Falcon) has still got his feet firmly planted on the ground.
The 18-year-old worked his way up to fifth place and first Kiwi driver home in the second race at the season-opening round of the 2008 V8 Supercar series at Adelaide late last month and heads to the second round at Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway this weekend sixth overall (and again first Kiwi) in the points standings.
Despite that the modest young Kiwi says it is early days yet and that his approach this weekend will be very much the same as it was heading into the Clipsal 500 meeting at Adelaide.
"The result at Clipsal was great for us, " he said this morning. "Everyone on the SP Tools Racing car is on a high. But it doesn't really change anything this weekend. We will still be aiming for the top 15. You've got to be realistic about it. Eastern Creek is another new circuit for me so it will take a while to settle in.
"I've been watching the footage from the last few years. It seems to be a fast and flowing track, definitely a place where you would want your car to be well balanced. But I can't really relate it to any of the tracks I've driven on in New Zealand for instance, there is nothing like it over there."
Fortunately the new practice format, which excludes the top 15 placegetters from 2007 from the first practice session, has worked out in his favour, giving him a 30-minute 'window' to familiarise himself with his car and the undulating and technically challenging 3.93km western Sydney circuit before the two other (1 x 30 minute and 1 x 75 minute) sessions later in the day.
This weekend will see the V8 Supercar drivers tackle three races, with an elimination-style 55 minute qualifying session on Saturday morning then the first of three 31-lap races that afternoon.
The other two 31-lap races will be held on Sunday, the first starting at 11.40 am, the second at 4.00pm.
Van Gisbergen's teammate, two-time former World Karting Champion (Jnr and Snr) and ex-F1 test driver James Courtney (#4 JELD-WEN Motorsport Falcon) was in the thick of things at the Clipsal 500 meeting in Adelaide, clashing with Craig Lowndes in the second race.
So he is looking for a fresh start in Sydney this weekend.
"There's been a lot of talk following Clipsal, but you can't change what happened last round and we are certainly not looking for a repeat performance at Eastern Creek.
"It's a matter of forgive but not forget. It's time for us to look forward; our main aim is to get a good bag of points and start our championship hunt.
"We're looking to have good car speed and a consistent weekend from all sides, no mistakes."