VAN GISBERGEN STARS AS SBR RUN THREE-FOUR AT SANDOWN Round 5, Midas 400, Sandown International Motor Raceway, VIC Fast-rising young New Zealand racing driver Shane van Gisbergen was the talk of the track at the fifth round of Australia's V8 ...
VAN GISBERGEN STARS AS SBR RUN THREE-FOUR AT SANDOWN
Round 5, Midas 400, Sandown International Motor Raceway, VIC
Fast-rising young New Zealand racing driver Shane van Gisbergen was the talk of the track at the fifth round of Australia's V8 Supercar championship over the weekend after a brilliant drive in the wet second race saw him claim his first podium race finish in the category.
The round was held at Melbourne's Sandown Raceway over Australia's three-day Queen's Birthday long weekend with Stone Brothers Racing's SB Tools-backed young gun van Gisbergen starting race two from ninth on the grid.
Finding the wet conditions to his liking the just-turned 19-year-old from Auckland's Manukau City put on a thrilling display of passing manoeuvers on the likes of Russell Ingall and Mark Winterbottom to move into third position by lap eight.
Slick pit stops by the SBR crew ensured that van Gisbergen maintained third position with his Stone Brothers Racing, JELD-WEN Motorsport teammate James Courtney jumping Winterbottom to move to fourth.
A safety car period on lap 31 brought the field together and the restart on lap 34 saw van Gisbergen and Courtney on the tail of leaders Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes.
In the closing laps, van Gisbergen looked to be settled in third before Whincup made an error allowing Lowndes and van Gisbergen through, giving the SP Tools Racing driver second position and his best V8 Supercar race finish.
The young Kiwi driver also featured in the third and final race which began in unusual circumstances, with Craig Lowndes unable to take up first position on the grid due to a mechanical failure on the formation lap. This left van Gisbergen on the front row on his own, with team-mate Courtney directly behind.
It was Courtney who made the most of the start however, his JELD-WEN Motorsport Falcon streaking into the first corner ahead of van Gisbergen for a memorable SBR Falcons one-two.
As it turned out however the race was played out through pit stops, the JELD-WEN Motorsport crew electing to bring Courtney in for his compulsory pit stop early while front runners Winterbottom and Whincup ran long.
At the closure of the compulsory pit stop window, Courtney was in third position behind Whincup and Winterbottom where he stayed until the chequered flag on lap 39.
Van Gisbergen fought all the way for his fourth position, hustled by Todd Kelly for much of the race, the young Kiwi holding his own to eventually finish the race in fourth position.
The weekend was a success for SBR, the team moving up to fourth in the team's championship and van Gisbergen jumping from 16th to 11th in the Championship standings.
Shane van Gisbergen, #9, SP Tools Racing Falcon "Today was an awesome day.
"We didn't qualify so well yesterday but we had a pretty good car in race one which got us up in the ten.
"The SP Tools Racing Falcon was great in race two today. We had a great run through the traffic. We didn't quite have the speed of the Triple Eight cars but the guys kept telling me to keep it smooth, keep my head down and that will get us the result.
"I'm just loving the racing; we have a great bunch of guys at SBR and they are working so hard to get us up the front.
"Days like today are why you race."
James Courtney, #4, JELD-WEN Motorsport "We had a trouble free weekend which is just what we need right now to get us back in the Championship race.
"The SBR cars were great in the wet today. Shane (van Gisbergen) pipped me in race two; he did a great job. I wasn't too sure that I liked my younger tea m mate ahead of me so we pushed pretty hard in race three and turned it around!
"The JELD-WEN Falcon got off to a great start in race three and was speedy for the first few laps. We maybe pitted a bit early as we started to struggle with tyres going off at the end.
"The conditions were pretty difficult for the last ten laps and I didn't have a lot to gain by pushing it so we decided that third was a pretty good result."