Van Gisbergen steels himself for bogey round

AutoTrader NZ
Published 3 September 2020

Over the years van Gisbergen has always been one of the pace-setters at the series’ ‘away’ rounds in the Middle East. But at the rustic 3.0km Winton circuit in rural Victoria – series icon Dick Johnson once described racing there as ‘like running a marathon round a clothes line’ – it has been a different story.

“It’s the bumps and the curbs,” said van Gisbergen this week. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a good run there.”

A quick flick through the stats supports the SP Tools-backed Stone Brothers Racing-run Kiwi’s assertion.

Last year he could qualify no better than 24th for the first race. The year before that it was 15th, the year before that 27th.

Typically the 23-year-old always done better in the races, memorably working his way up to sixth place after starting from P27 in the first race in 2009. But that, he reckons, is cold comfort when he knows that at a different circuit he can be swapping fastest qualifying lap times with champion-elect Jamie Whincup and top Ford driver Mark Winterbottom.

“It’s just the way the car is and has always been,” he says. “It’s good when the track surface is really smooth but when it’s bumpy or there are high curbs we struggle.”

This weekend’s penultimate series rounds sees two races, a 47 lap/120km sprint affair on Saturday and a 67-lap/200 feature on Sunday with drivers again having the option of using both soft and hard compound Dunlop tyres.

After his podium finishes at Abu Dhabi van Gisbergen remains fifth in the V8 Supercar series points standings with just this weekend’s round at Winton and the series final at Homebush in Sydney in a fortnight’s time to go.