Shane van Gisbergen claims back-to-back wins at Bathurst
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Shane van Gisbergen went back-to-back at Bathurst to become Scott McLaughlin’s heir apparent with the Holden hero’s bid to become the V8 king beginning with a double.
In a rare season start at Mount Panorama after Bathurst replaced the Adelaide 500 with a sprint round, van Gisbergen won both 250km races to put one hand on the throne that McLaughlin vacated when he moved to America to become an IndyCar star.
“That drive was a big, big statement,” said V8 legend Mark Skaife.
“He is a contender for sure.”
Already a series champion after winning the title in 2016, the Red Bull Ampol Racing Team driver roared around Mount Panorama to become the favourite to replace McLaughlin as the sport’s best driver.
“It is a great way to start the year,” van Gisbergen said.
“It is an awesome way to start. We are starting again and we just have to keep on chipping away and not making mistakes is the key.”
Fresh from blitzing the field to win the first race of the year, the Holden driver triumphed in a dramatic top-ten shot out by edging out Cameron Waters and Anton De Pasquale.
“My reference was looking good until Skyline,” van Gisbergen. Said.
“I thought I threw it away. Fortunately, the rest of my lap was very good. I am really happy with the car and it is looking good. Hopefully I make full use of the clean air in the race.”
In an intriguing start to the season, Scott McLaughlin’s replacement at Dick Johnson Racing (DJR) De Pasquale made a mistake in both races to fail in his first outing in the reigning champion’s seat.
And after a power steering problem cost him his race winning chance on Saturday, Cameron Waters confirmed himself a contender by following van Gisbergen home to finish second.
“It was an awesome recovery after what happened yesterday,” Waters said.
“I can’t thank the boys enough for not only getting the car back out there but also giving me a rocket. We had a strong car all weekend and I would have loved to have repaid them with a win but Shane was too quick.
“Still it was a good way to start the season.”
Van Gisbergen said a lap 16 pit-stop that saw him emerge with the lead was a winning move.
“The car was awesome,” van Gisbergen said.
“We had some battles on the track and we tried to win it in pitlane which we did. That battle in the middle stint was insane and it was so cool to have such a good car that I ended up getting in some clean air. I was pretty cool being able to watch the stickers of a sub-par energy drink (Monster) disappear in the mirror as I pushed on.”
Chaz Mostert finished in third to start the year by bagging a double podium.
“We will take that,” Mostert said.
“It was a great start to the year.”
Fresh from blitzing the field to win the first race of the year, the Holden driver triumphed in a dramatic Top 10 shoot out by edging out Cameron Waters and Anton De Pasquale in a one lap thriller.
“My reference was looking good until Skyline,” van Gisbergen said.
“I thought I threw it away.
“Fortunately, the rest of my lap was very good.
“I am really happy with the car and it is looking good. Hopefully I make full use of the clean air in the race.”
Van Gisbergen will go toe-to-toe with Waters in what promises to be a classic Holden versus Ford fight in the second 250km Mount Panorama sprint.