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Van Gisbergen chasing perfection with points deficit

24 Mar
Reigning champion opens up in wide-ranging interview
3 mins by James Pavey
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Shane van Gisbergen is determined to be “perfect” as he aims to overturn his points deficit in the 2023 drivers’ standings.

Van Gisbergen is 11th in the standings, 126 points behind leader Chaz Mostert, heading to next weekend’s Beaurepaires Melbourne SuperSprint.

The Red Bull Ampol Chevrolet star crossed the line first in both Thrifty Newcastle 500 races, but was disqualified from Race 1 over a technical breach.

He returned a day later and defeated Mostert in Race 2, which was followed by his media shutdown that prompted much debate.

In a wide-ranging interview on Greg Rust’s Rusty’s Garage podcast, van Gisbergen admitted he could have handed his post-race actions in Newcastle better.

However, the 33-year-old said he was also overwhelmed by the support he received after the weekend’s events.

While conscious of his role in wanting to see the Gen3 cars evolve, van Gisbergen is now determined to make up the deficit come Albert Park.

"It's a hard one and to be honest I'm battling with myself," he said.

'You want to be remembered for your driving'

"On one hand I want to help the series get better. But on the other hand, I've got a championship to race for.

"I've been put 150 points in the hole. I'm conflicted, because I just want to race now and I'm fired up to be perfect in the next few weeks and get those points back.

"But I want to make the car better for everyone… for me, I just want to come out in Melbourne and drive it and do my best.

"It's hard to be selfish and have everyone's best interest at heart at the same time.”

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Van Gisbergen and Mostert put on a thrilling battle for the Race 2 victory, which fell to the Kiwi after a tense late-race battle.

The move itself stirred plenty of debate from fans, and while he quipped that the contact was “cheeky”, Mostert admitted van Gisbergen was odds-on to pass him anyway.

Van Gisbergen welcomed the rivalries and acknowledged that he does "push things to the edge sometimes”.

When asked about what qualities people acknowledge about him as a champion, van Gisbergen reiterated that he wants to be remembered for his on-track exploits.

“You want to be remembered for your driving and your racing,” van Gisbergen said.

“As a driver, I try and do everything I can the best I can.

“We have a lot of for and against in this sport. You support your Chevs, or you support your Fords, or your Holdens as it used to be.

“There are a lot of polarising people in the sport, you support one or you don't — there are not many people in the middle in our sport, which is awesome, it creates rivalries.

“For the people who don’t support me, hopefully they think I still was or still am a good thing for the sport and they appreciate me being there.

“I don’t care if they cheer against me, as long as they think it creates good racing and a good thing for the sport to have that healthy competition.

“I know I push things to the edge sometimes, I love to push my competitors as far as they can, but I want to be fair when I do it as well.”

The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will resume at the Beaurepaires Melbourne SuperSprint on March 30-April 2.

Mostert plays down early points lead

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