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Van Gisbergen: Repeat of Darwin car issues 'gutting'

06 Jul 2023
Reigning champion's Friday affected by more gremlins
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Car gremlins again rearing their head in practice, this time in Townsville, have proven “gutting” for reigning champion Shane van Gisbergen.

Van Gisbergen ended up third and fourth in both practice sessions at the NTI Townsville 500 on Friday.

However, despite managing to extract one-lap pace, van Gisbergen’s two sessions were punctuated by car gremlins.

Van Gisbergen was suffering from handling issues, with the steering not straight under brakes.

It comes after van Gisbergem slumped to 17th and 25th in the two Darwin practice sessions as he battled a hanging throttle and a steering problem.

However, he still managed to bring home a podium and the second most points for the weekend.

The Kiwi wasn’t the only front-runner to strike trouble, with series leader Brodie Kostecki delayed in Practice 1 due to steering issues of his own.

"Today didn’t go our way unfortunately,” said van Gisbergen, who returned to Australia this week after his breakthrough NASCAR win in Chicago.

"We seem to have the same issues as what we had in Darwin, so instead of trying to utilise our practice sessions to make the car faster, we’re fixing issues which is a real shame, it’s gutting.

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"The car is obviously fast, but we’re focusing on errors and trying to make things better instead of focusing on speed, and it’s really puzzling.

"Our qualifying run at the end of the practice session was challenging as well.

"The car is not handling well at the braking zones and I’m having some steering issues down the straights which isn’t nice.

"We’ll work on those issues tonight and hopefully make some changes to the car so we can focus on racing rather than issues."

Sunday’s race will be van Gisbergen’s 500th Supercars start; he will be the first New Zealander to achieve the milestone.

The 34-year-old is just 110 points behind Kostecki heading into Saturday’s first 150-point race.

Cars will return to the track on Saturday for ARMOR ALL Qualifying at 10:15am AEST, followed by the Top Ten Shootout at 12:00pm.

The first 88-lap race of the weekend, Race 16, will commence at 2:40pm.

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