Shane Van Gisbergen of Red Bull Racing at this year's Sydney SuperSprint.
Shane Van Gisbergen of Red Bull Racing at this year's Sydney SuperSprint. MARK HORSBURGH

Van Gisbergen puts past Bathurst failure behind him

MOTORSPORT: Don't mention the war. Shane van Gisbergen is not one to dwell on failed campaigns on the battlefield.

It's onwards and upwards for the red-hot 27-year-old New Zealander, who is leading the Supercars drivers' championship - especially when it comes to Mount Panorama and the Bathurst 1000.

Then part of the Tekno Autosports team, van Gisbergen looked set to record a maiden win in the Great Race two years ago when he led with 10 laps to go.

That is until he stalled his Holden during a final pit stop and couldn't get it started, eventually finishing 16th.

Van Gisbergen had done all the hard work to regain the lead with 39 of the 161 laps to go after falling behind immediately after starting from pole position.

But, for the straight-shooting Kiwi, it's all in the past.

"Doesn't worry me, looking forward to this year,” he told Australian Regional Media matter-of-factly.

After an eighth last year, van Gisbergen returns to Bathurst this time with the might of Red Bull Racing and Triple Eight Race Engineering behind him in the Holden VF Commodore.

Triple Eight holds the top-three places on the drivers' standings, with competition greats Jamie Whincup (six titles, five Bathurst 1000 wins) and Craig Lowndes (three titles, six Bathurst 1000 wins) trailing him.

"It's pretty awesome to be a part of that,” he said. "Good to be a part of such a good team and good organisation.”

Van Gisbergen also arrives as the new holder of the fastest lap recorded at the Mount Panorama circuit, driving a McLaren 650S GT3, on his way to winning the Bathurst 12 Hour earlier this year alongside Alvaro Parente and Jonathon Webb.

"It's a great practice lap for the 1000,” he said. "Any time you can get laps around Bathurst is a plus ... we don't get to drive there much. To be able to go and do 12 hours is pretty cool.”

Van Gisbergen will look for more success this weekend at Bathurst, with French co-driver Alex Premat, and carry on from the Sandown 500 where he finished second to grab the series lead.

Focused on the challenge at hand, he's not looking too far down the track.

"I don't know even know what the points are,” he said of the title race. "I'm not too fussed about it.

"We always say we're not thinking about the championship until after the Gold Coast (in the next round), and that hasn't changed.

"We'll stay focused, and push on for these next two weekends.”

Van Gisbergen, who has a best series finish of second in 2014, says the competition is far too tight.

"It's so hard now,” he said. "The start of this year was crazy - I think we had 10 winners in 13 races, so you can't pick it.

"But that's the best thing about our series. Everyone is so fast ... it's just whoever turns up on the day really.”

Van Gisbergen has enjoyed more wins than any other driver this season.

"We've obviously doing a good job being up front, but there's a long way to go,” he said.

"We've just got to make sure we don't make mistakes, keep getting the results ... and hopefully we're in the fight.”

LEADERBOARD: 1. Shane van Gisbergen (Holden) 2248; 2. Jamie Whincup (Holden) 2241; 3. Craig Lowndes (Holden) 2091; 4. Scott McLaughlin (Volvo) 1989; 5. Mark Winterbottom (Ford) 1908; 6. Will Davison (Holden) 1812; 7. Chaz Mostert (Ford) 1757; 8. Garth Tander (Holden) 1663.



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