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Van Gisbergen surprised by Supercars title contention

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Van Gisbergen surprised by Supercars title contention
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May 24, 2017, 12:27 AM

Shane van Gisbergen admits he doesn’t feel like he should be in contention for the Supercars title right now, despite being just 37 points off the lead.

Podium: race winner Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Podium: race winner Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Race winner Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Race winner Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden

The Kiwi has been Triple Eight’s only race winner this season, kicking off the season with the double at the Clipsal 500 before winning Race 1 in Tasmania, which became a non-points race thanks to the 12-car pile-up on Lap 2.

What followed, however, was a six-race stint without a podium finish, issues such as penalties (Symmons Plains), tyre failures (Phillip Island), and long stops (Saturday at Winton) contributing to a rocky start to his title defence.

Despite all that, following last Sunday’s breakthrough win at Winton van Gisbergen is sitting fourth in the title race, and just 37 points off leader Fabian Coulthard – which has left him unsure on where he stands in terms of title contention.

“I’m not really sure,” he said.

“I’ve had a few weird ones, like the silly stuff at Phillip Island and the drive-through in Tasmania. There’s been a lot of stuff that’s in our control, and out of it, so it’s hard.

“How we won the championship last year was being consistent and getting the results every weekend, and we haven’t managed to do that so far. So for us, I think on our side of the garage we’ve got to take control of that, stop making mistakes, and be smooth.

“I feel like we’re there, but we’re not. I feel like we should be worse than fourth in the championship, but I feel like we’re improving.”

Van Gisbergen added that qualifying speed is a focus for Triple Eight, as it looks to take the fight to 2017’s form team DJR Team Penske.

“Clearly they have a faster car, particularly in qualifying, and for us that’s where we need to step up,” he said. “And then we can challenge them in the races, put pressure on them early, pit early, and make them respond.

“I feel like we’re getting closer to that stage, but qualifying, watching Scotty [McLaughlin’s] lap Sunday morning, it looked pretty shitty – and he’s still three tenths up the road.

“So we have a lot to gain in switching the tyres on for the one lap.”

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