The history that suggests SVG can't rest on big series lead

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 11/06/2021
  • By James Pavey

Shane van Gisbergen has built the second-biggest series lead through four rounds since the 300-point weekend scoring system was introduced.

Heading to next weekend’s Merlin Darwin Triple Crown, van Gisbergen leads Red Bull Ampol Racing teammate Jamie Whincup by 190 points.

Van Gisbergen won the opening six races of the season, and scored three podiums across the following five races.

WATCH: NINE SEARING DARWIN MOMENTS

It marks the biggest series lead through four events since 2010, when Whincup opened up a huge gap on the field.

Whincup won six of the first eight races to open season 2010, and left the fourth round in New Zealand with a 204-point lead over James Courtney.

That’s where van Gisbergen can’t rest on his laurels; Whincup suffered a dramatic mid-season collapse, and lost the title to Courtney.

Whincup failed to make his early 2010 dominance count

Courtney won four races in a row across the Queensland Raceway and Winton rounds, with Whincup suffering a major slump.

In the 13 seasons under the 300-point weekend system, five times has the leader after four rounds failed to win the title.

Whincup was 120 points down on Garth Tander in 2008 following his Hamilton disaster, where he failed to start a race following a major qualifying accident.

WATCH: 2010 TITLE-DEFINING DRAMA

Six years later, Whincup was a whopping 166 points down on Mark Winterbottom after four rounds, before a dominant middle part of the season saw the title wrapped up a round early.

In 2016 and 2017, Craig Lowndes and Fabian Coulthard led the standings, only to cede the titles to van Gisbergen and Whincup respectively.

The closest margin between first and second through four events remains the 12 points between Winterbottom and Lowndes in 2015.

Lowndes would go on to win a sixth Bathurst crown, but a dominant mid-season run saw Winterbottom build a lead he wouldn’t surrender.

Van Gisbergen will be under pressure to keep his series lead from diminishing; he hasn’t won in Darwin since 2016, and Shell Fords have won nine of the last 12 races at Hidden Valley Raceway.

Whincup also won a race in Darwin last season, with van Gisbergen only good enough for two podiums across the Darwin doubleheader.

The Repco Supercars Championship field will return to the Northern Territory for the Merlin Darwin Triple Crown across June 18-20. Tickets are available here.

The event will be broadcast live on Foxtel and will be streamed on Kayo, and will be broadcast live and free on Seven.

Series leads after four rounds (under 300-point scoring system)

2008: Tander led Kelly by 14 points (Whincup 4th, 120 points behind)
2009: Whincup led Davison by 96 points
2010: Whincup led Courtney by 204 points
2011: Whincup led Lowndes by 142 points
2012: Whincup led Davison by 29 points
2013: Whincup led Davison by 65 points
2014: Winterbottom led Lowndes by 107 points (Whincup 6th, 166 points behind)
2015: Winterbottom led Lowndes by 12 points
2016: Lowndes led Whincup by 42 points (van Gisbergen 4th, 91 points behind)
2017: Coulthard led van Gisbergen by 19 points (Whincup 3rd, 22 points behind)
2018: McLaughlin led Reynolds by 60 points
2019: McLaughlin led Coulthard by 124 points
2020: McLaughlin led Whincup by 101 points
2021: van Gisbergen leads Whincup by 190 points

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