McLauchlin and Van Gisbergen in the hunt
PHILLIP ISLAND, Vic, April 16 AAP - It’s only now that Shane van Gisbergen is able to talk about it. With five laps to go at Symmons Plains at the last meet of the V8 Supercars championship, the Kiwi was looking at his second win of the weekend.
Having beaten off a determined drive from Mark Winterbottom, you could forgive van Gisbergen might for calculating his new championship lead after a near-perfect start to his Red Bull Racing career.
But it all changed when the 26-year-old ran into the oil slick left behind by Cam Waters, parking himself in the gravel, unable to finish the race.
A certain 150 points was down the toilet and van Gisbergen was furious.
He said it took him longer than he wanted to move past the moment.
“Not until I got in the car today,” he said after Friday’s practice session on Phillip Island.
“I’m pretty critical of myself and that was my own mistake.
“It’s been a tough week replaying the incident every day. I was pretty excited to get in the car.”
Van Gisbergen made his mark in practice on Friday, finishing third behind a red-hot Scott McLaughlin.
Fellow Kiwi McLaughlin appears to be the man to beat on Phillip Island, smashing the lap record in a stunning drive.
Van Gisbergen agreed the gap of more than six-tenths of a second that McLaughlin put between himself and the field was impressive but it wasn’t intimidating.
“Six-tenths is a long way but new tyres is a big gain,” he said.
“If you get grip at (turn) one, it flows so much at this track.
“I think there’s a little bit more to come. Come qualifying, we’ll be ok.”
Whincup, who fared worse than his Red Bull Racing teammate and finished 19th, said it was a false position.
“The car feels good on the track, just some room for improvement,” he said.
“We are better than the performance we gave.”