Kiwi on verge of winning title after consistent Pukekohe outing
Red Bull Racing Australia's Shane van Gisbergen has weathered an at times choppy day to extend his lead of the 2016 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship and win the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy.
After grabbing a race win on Saturday, van Gisbergen didn't win either of Sunday's two ITM Auckland SuperSprint races at Pukekohe Park Raceway. However a third-place in the first and a second-place in the second were enough for him to take the overall win.
Prodrive Racing's Mark Winterbottom broke his own eight-round victory drought to win the penultimate race comfortably, while Jamie Whincup won the finale.
Sunday's major talking point was an incident between Whincup and van Gisbergen 12 laps into the first race of the day. While dicing for second place behind Winterbottom, the pair made contact at the hairpin after Whincup locked his rear wheels while attempting to make the pass.
The move bumped van Gisbergen down to the bottom of the top 10, and Whincup to 12th. However things went from bad to worse for the six-time champ after he received a pit-lane drive-through penalty. After losing almost a lap, he finished 25th — giving up a fistful of championship points to van Gisbergen who sliced through the field to finish third.
But while van Gisbergen benefited highly from Whincup's poor result, it wasn't enough for him to seal the title win on home soil. Instead he will have to weather the storm at the final round of the year in four weeks time; the Sydney 500 at Homebush.