He’s the only man preventing Ford pair Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard turning this year’s Supercars championship into a two-horse race and Shane Van Gisbergen is eager to close the gap this weekend at Winton.
The Red Bull Holden Racing Team driver heads into the Winton SuperSprint meeting third on the championship standings, 322 points behind McLaughlin and 142 points off Fabian Coulthard in an all-New Zealand top three.
While his DJR Team Penske rivals each claimed a race win at Perth earlier this month, Van Gisbergen was happy to come back from Western Australia with a fourth and a third.
It was a result combined with teammate Jamie Whincup’s return to form which gives him confidence heading into this weekend.
« We were the best Holdens which is our goal at the moment, » Van Gisbergen told AAP.
« Certainly it was a big step forward there.
« I just know we’ve got a good car and we’ve been working pretty hard. We’ve got to keep going down the path we’ve been going down with set up … hopefully we can keep shutting that gap down. »
Van Gisbergen will make his 100th race start for Red Bull Racing over the weekend and finished on the podium at both races last year.
Forecast wet weather and a shortened two-day format pose unique challenges for the weekend and Van Gisbergen said a co-driver practice session on Saturday morning will be important with track time at a premium.
« We’ve got to rely a lot on (co-drivers) Craig (Lowndes) and Garth (Tander) tomorrow, they’ve got a half-hour practice and then we’ve got another half hour, » Van Gisbergen said.
« Not much track time so the co-driver’s going to have to be really on to it as well.
« If it’s going to rain hopefully it just does one or the other you know. When it’s intermittent or changing all the time, it’s certainly pretty tough to keep on top of. »
The Winton SuperSprint boasts a 120km race on Saturday and a 200km race on Sunday.