Best of enemies
- By Kassie Gadeke
- Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen continue to play down any inter-team rivalry, despite racing one another for the win yet again today at Queensland Raceway.
Van Gisbergen stole the lead from his teammate with two laps to go and didn’t think twice about going for gold and taking his fourth win of the season.
The dynamic between the two drivers – one flamboyant and hungry, the other Supercars’ all-time champ who cannot be underestimated – has been a much debated topic all season as they race in equal equipment.
But both insist they are not focused on one another in the tight field, though they’re now separated by just 41 points in the championship.
“I’m not just racing Jamie, I am racing everyone else as well,” van Gisbergen said.
He was not worried about messing up the move and making contact when passing at the end.
“I think I’m quite calculated with those types of moves nowadays.
“I try to be clean and race everyone hard and fair. It’s always going to be hard and fair with me.”
Van Gisbergen has shifted from single car TEKNO Autosports – with no teammates – to having two in Whincup and Craig Lowndes (who finished third) but says that does not change the mindset.
Though he has been warned about watching out for his teammates.
“I think we smashed a headlight together at Melbourne and got a rap so I’ll have to be careful!” Van Gisbergen said.
“I’ve been enjoying it, all the battles have been clean and hard and just racing like we normally would. But obviously in the back of your mind you know it’s a team car and all the guys in the shed and at the factory are relying on you for a good result.
“So for me it’s been great so far we have always been up the front and racing hard and all clean so far so happy days.”
Being part of the Triple Eight fold has undoubtedly been a positive for the 26-year old. His win today at Queensland Raceway meant success somewhere he had never tasted it before – following on from a breakthrough win at Townsville at the last round.
“I’ve been in some cool teams before and cool atmospheres but knowing you’re going to be competitive at every track you turn up to is really cool,” he said.
“Even yesterday we struggled in one practice Jamie and I – Craig was faster in his direction and all of a sudden we are faster. So having that support and such a strong team is really cool.”
Whincup always refers back to having competed for the title against Lowndes for several years and says racing van Gisbergen is no different.
“We’re all good, it’s been six months, we’re battling hard, I can’t see any changes,” Whincup said.
“I think it’s important to understand it’s not just about us – we’ve had a great day today but there’s going to be some great battles coming from other teams for the remaining six rounds, so we’re looking everywhere else, not just looking at each other.”
Van Gisbergen has taken four wins this season to Whincup’s two.
A horror run on Sunday in Tasmania, where he slipped from the lead on oil and was awarded no points, changed the complexion of his championship.