The focus for Shane van Gisbergen and his Team TEKNO VIP Petfoods crew is consistently running at the pointy end, as he heads to what he considers one of his worst tracks, Barbagallo Raceway in Perth.
The Kiwi has inched into the top five in the Championship after a strong showing in his Holden Commodore at home race the ITM 500 Auckland – and he wants to stay there.
“All we’ve got to do is keep getting consistent results – I think we were in the top five every race so it’s what we need to do,” van Gisbergen told v8supercars.com.au.
“We’ve been improving – qualifying’s been good – so we need to keep it up.”
Last year the quick Kiwi finished ninth, seventh and sixth in the three races at Barbagallo – results he considers not good enough.
“It’s probably been one of my worst tracks I’ve been to!” he said of the 2.91km circuit.
“I wasn’t good there last year either, so with the car – it’s quite different the direction we’re heading – so hopefully we get there and put on a good show.
“But we’ll just have to see but hoping we can be improved more than last year.”
A test day scheduled tomorrow at Queensland Raceway should help progress, and with confidence that reliability was starting to improve, there was no reason for van Gisbergen to doubt the #97.
“The car was faultless all weekend and ran well… Just right from the start we didn’t have the pace of the Fords and Scotty,” he said of the fourth and final New Zealand race.
“Things are starting to improve in that area as well (reliability) so it’s promising.”
While it would be easy to assume the 24-year old would be shattered to have lost out on the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy on Sunday, he was fairly upbeat about the weekend in New Zealand.
On Saturday night after a race win, he left the circuit leading the event points, but a rule clarification on Sunday morning meant van Gisbergen would lose 25 points towards his weekend tally after contact with Jason Bright on the Friday.
While round points are not usually amended by a points penalty, because the total counted towards the coveted trophy, it triggered rule 188.8.131.52 which communicates that points counting towards an award or prize would be forfeited.
Van Gisbergen said losing the lead officially on Sunday prior to the race didn’t phase him – the final 200km run, worth 150 points, was what mattered and all of the proceedings had played out the day before in the Stewards’ rooms. And while he wasn’t able to claw back and take the prize he was still pleased with the end of the weekend.
“We were all disappointed, but being disappointed to be fourth is a pretty cool thing!” van Gisbergen said.
“For us it was just good points for us all weekend and we were pretty happy with it.”
Van Gisbergen sits 164 points behind new Championship leader and Race 13 winner Mark Winterbottom, with Craig Lowndes, Fabian Coulthard and James Courtney second to fourth. Last year’s and five-time Champion Jamie Whincup is just two points behind the Kiwi in sixth.