Shane van Gisbergen's 2017 race against the clock
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Reigning Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen knows he is fast running out of time to catch fellow Kiwi Scott McLaughlin to defend his crown.
The Red Bull Holden Racing star collected two third-place finishes at the weekend's round at Queensland Raceway but still finished behind McLaughlin both days.
The 28-year-old van Gisbergen now trails the DJR Team Penske driver by 261 points in the standings.
"We had two awesome races and came third," van Gisbergen told Radio Sport of his solid weekend.
"Our pace wasn't quite able to win but we finished on the podium both days so we should be pretty happy with it."
The reality now is that van Gisbergen is almost relying on McLaughlin to have a bad result at one of the three upcoming endurance rounds, where 300 points are up for grabs for just one race at Sandown and Bathurst.
While there is still time for van Gisbergen to turn it around he would need to be as dominant as McLaughlin has been in the first half of the season and that seems unlikely.
"He finished in front of us both days," van Gisbergen said. "His car is fast, his team is good and he's obviously driving it very well.
"He is going to be hard to beat for sure but I am not giving up until the points are out of reach.
"We have a lot of work to do to be faster and then score the points back."
The series takes a three-week break before the final sprint round at Sydney Motorsport Park and then the endurance events.
A return home to New Zealand during that time is on the agenda for van Gisbergen who will spend some time snowboarding alongside fellow Kiwi and DJR Team Penske rival Fabian Coulthard.