The chasing pack: Murphy's title fight assessment

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 26/03/2021
  • By Charlie Bullis

Greg Murphy believes it might take a "broken leg" to stop Shane van Gisbergen in his charge to the 2021 drivers’ title.

Van Gisbergen extended his unbeaten run to five races following a hat-trick of wins at last weekend’s Penrite Oil Sandown SuperSprint.

The Red Bull Ampol Racing driver’s performance came just two weeks after breaking his left collarbone.

To next month’s third round of the season in Tasmania, van Gisbergen already enjoys a 150-point buffer over teammate Jamie Whincup atop the championship standings.

Speaking on Supercars’ new Facebook live show, Tuesday Night Takeaway, Murphy weighed into the 2021 title fight.

"It was staggering, what an epic weekend, what an epic race,” the four-time Bathurst winner said.

”[Van Gisbergen] shouldn’t have won Race 3, he shouldn’t have won it, you don’t win races from 17th in 36 laps.

The #97 was the car to beat at Sandown

"It’s not supposed to happen, considering all the drama he’s been through in the last little while."

It was later revealed that van Gisbergen had broken three ribs in his mountain bike accident two weeks ago.

He defied the odds to complete a clean sweep of the Sandown event, taking wins in dry and wet conditions.

When asked what might be able to derail van Gisbergen’s run of form, Murphy joked: "Probably a broken leg, I reckon.

"He’s on a roll at the moment, but there are other guys that are working very, very hard.”

"Look what Chaz [Mostert] did in qualifying on Saturday, it was brilliant.

"Shane knows there’s going to be moments throughout the year when other people have everything they need and are running at their absolute best.

"There will be some absolutely great competition and no question, he knows it will be coming."

Competition comes in the form of teammate Whincup, who scored two podiums at Sandown to rise to second in the standings.

Walkinshaw Andretti United ace Mostert, who was quick at the Bathurst season-opener, secured a Saturday pole and demonstrated race-winning pace.

Waters finished second in Races 3 and 4

Also closing in is Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters, who has recovered from his power steering drama in Bathurst to finish no lower than sixth since.

While excited by the pedigree of the chasing pack, Murphy admitted the title is now van Gisbergen’s to lose.

"Cam Waters is so close to getting another race win and he’s working so hard at it,” Murphy said.

"Jamie is probably going to win races this year too.

"Others are going to win [races], but are they going to be able to do it consistently to knock [van Gisbergen] off the perch at the end of the year?

"Going the way it is, probably not."

The Repco Supercars Championship field will return to Symmons Plains for the Beaurepaires Tasmania SuperSprint across April 10-11. Tickets are on sale now.

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

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