Shane van Gisbergen suffers consecutive DNFs for first time in 10 years
Van Gisbergen forced out of VAILO Adelaide 500 finale
Kiwi was voted by fans as Most Popular Driver for 2023
There was no fairytale ending to Shane van Gisbergen's 17-year Supercars career, with the NASCAR-bound driver suffering consecutive DNFs for the first time in over a decade.
Car troubles forced the Red Bull Ampol Racing ace out of Sunday’s VAILO Adelaide 500, which was won by Penrite Racing rookie Matt Payne. As Brodie Kostecki and Erebus Motorsport celebrated a double championship, van Gisbergen was left to watch on from the sidelines after he was undone by braking issues. With van Gisbergen crashing out of Saturday’s race, the Kiwi suffered consecutive DNFs for the first time since the 2012 season finale in Sydney and the 2013 opener in Adelaide. The #97 Red Bull Ampol Camaro was in the mix on Sunday before the issues arose, with van Gisbergen hunting a podium after starting 15th. However, it wasn’t to be, although teammate Broc Feeney managed to finish second.
Regardless, it was a swansong undeserving of a driver that has won 40 races across the last three seasons, and has finished no lower than fourth in the championship in each season since 2014.
“Congratulations to Broc and the team on a great result today,” van Gisbergen said.
"It would have been good to have joined him on the podium as I thought our car was going good, but unfortunately we have some sort of issue that we couldn’t fix.
"Congratulations again to Brodie as well. He’s been the fastest guy all year and the team made no mistakes, so they deserved to have both championships.
"We tried our hardest but we couldn’t get it done. I’ve had an amazing time with the team at Triple Eight so thanks to them for a great few years – I had a blast and I’m sure I’ll be back one day.”
Van Gisbergen’s final season featured five wins, headlined by a third Bathurst 1000 victory alongside Richie Stanaway.
The 34-year-old’s efforts this season, which also featured a stunning NASCAR Cup Series victory on debut, saw fans vote van Gisbergen as Most Popular Driver.
The award was handed to van Gisbergen on the grid before the race, and while a dream result didn’t eventuate, the three-time champion was taken aback by the recognition.
"It was amazing to again get the fan choice award for most popular driver – I never know what to say when I get awards like that as it’s always a surprise to me,” he said.
"I had some great words of support from people before I raced and at our signing sessions this week which has been an amazing feeling to feel appreciated like that.
"I struggle to show it back to them I guess, but we had a pretty awesome time with some cool support."