Shane van Gisbergen is bracing for a pre-Tasmania rally on home soil in New Zealand, his first competitive rally outing in six months.
Van Gisbergen will preface next weekend’s NED Whisky Tasmania SuperSprint with a start in the 2023 International Rally of Whangārei.
The three-time Supercars champion will drive an Audi S1 AP4 specification car with co-driver Glen Weston.
Van Gisbergen’s last rally start also came on home soil at the Repco Rally New Zealand last year, prior to his Repco Bathurst 1000 win.
Last September, van Gisbergen scored a WRC2 podium and points on his World Rally Championship debut.
The 78-time Supercars race winner has already tested rally conditions this year, but Whangārei is an all new challenge.
The May 12-14 event covers 720km of the Northland region, using 18 special stages of closed road.
Van Gisbergen scored a breakthrough WRC2 podium last year
“It’ll be my first time on the Whangārei roads and from what I can see they have a bit of everything”, he said.
"It looks like a fast but also technical rally. I’m looking forward to the challenge and seeing how we go.
"I’m in a different car this season, so we will be learning that and looking to improve each rally.”
Van Gisbergen isn’t the only Supercars driver competing ahead of Tasmania.
Red Bull Ampol Racing teammate Broc Feeney is casting his attention to GT racing in Thailand.
Feeney, who won the last race in Perth, will race Triple Eight’s entry in the GT World Challenge Asia event at the Buriram International Circuit.
Van Gisbergen and Feeney are 136 and 220 points behind championship leader, Erebus Motorsport’s Brodie Kostecki.
The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will resume at the NED Whisky Tasmania SuperSprint on May 19-21.
Tickets for the event are on sale on Supercars.com and Ticketek.com.