Shane van Gisbergen is playing down the significance of leading the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship with three rounds remaining, setting up a major battle between he and teammate Jamie Whincup.
Whincup has the most titles in Supercars history with six to his name, but that doesn’t worry van Gisbergen.
When asked if he was intimidated by Whincup’s record number of wins, he responded with just one word: “No”.
Heading to one of his most successful circuits this weekend for the Castrol Gold Coast 600, the quick Kiwi would not be drawn into discussions on the title fight.
There has been much more focus on the 27-year old this season given his move to Red Bull and constant front-running form, but he believes the increased intensity from the media won’t bother him as he approaches the final finish line.
“It’s been pretty tough scrutiny all year, but I’ve been alright with it, I’ve been focused on doing my own thing,” he said.
“I’ve been pretty good with not being distracted by all that – I just get on with it and it should be alright.”
With Triple Eight’s Bathurst appeal dismissed last night in Melbourne, van Gisbergen’s 139-point lead was cemented over Whincup. Red Bull racer said he felt “nothing” when learning of the result.
“I’m just focusing on this weekend, we’ll maybe think about points at the last two rounds, but just trying to push on this time,” he told supercars.com.
The battle between he and Whincup has raged on this season, though neither want to talk about the red-hot intra-team contest.
Sharing a pit boom has meant both have been affected by double stacking, and having to settle for the alternate strategy as the higher qualifier takes the preferred option throughout the race.
But van Gisbergen wouldn’t acknowledge any significance in that race to the pits given the nature of the concrete canyon that is Surfers Paradise.
“This track is really hard to pass so you need to start in front, because if you’re stuck behind a few slow guys, that makes it pretty tough,” he said.
“(We’re focused on) two good results and good points haul, so we need to hopefully try and get a good result in the Pirtek Enduro Cup and lead up into the rest of the year.”
Van Gisbergen doesn’t believe the appeal has been a distraction for the team behind the scenes, feeling he is as prepared as can be for the final endurance race of the season.
“I think with management being so good we’ve been able to keep it separate and really focus on the prep for this weekend. We had good debrief from Bathurst from our side and a good pre-brief, so I feel ready to go and well prepared.”
The third Triple Eight car of Craig Lowndes is third in the points standings, with the V8 veteran 319 off the lead.
Van Gisbergen and co-driver Alex Premat are second in the Pirtek Enduro Cup standings, with just six points separating them from Bathurst winners and top point scorers Will Davison and Jonathon Webb.