Shane van Gisbergen suffered a late scare due to rubber build-up
Van Gisbergen also battled with car issues en route to victory
Reigning champion won third Bathurst 1000 in four years
Shane van Gisbergen has revealed that a "football" sized clump of rubber nearly derailed his Repco Bathurst 1000 victory bid on Thursday.
Van Gisbergen and Richie Stanaway dominated Sunday’s Great Race, leading 74 laps and winning by nearly 20 seconds.
The #97 Red Bull Ampol Camaro gained a strategic advantage and raced away from the pack, with van Gisbergen finishing off the job despite a late brake scare.
However, it wasn’t the only problem, with van Gisbergen also enduring steering rack and clutch concerns, alongside gear lever problems for the sister Triple Eight cars.
In the final laps, van Gisbergen revealed how rubber build-up — caused by the Dunlop Soft tyre compound — had created build-up in the front of his car, one of which dislodged at a critical moment.
"I had so many problems with the car at the end with the [steering] rack, the clutch, the last set of brakes wasn't very good, and then rubber kept falling out of the splitter,” van Gisbergen said.
"They kept saying they were pulling footballs of rubber out of the splitter every pitstop. I had one — five laps to go — fall out at the Cutting and it fell under the right rear tyre and I had a big slide. That wasn't very nice.
"I just hoped the thing held together. And obviously my teammates had the gearshift issues, so I was trying to be nice when I could. It is what it is.”
Van Gisbergen race safe from there, but there were still fears given Craig Lowndes suffered a gearshift tower failure in the opening laps, before Broc Feeney suffered a similar fate in the final stint.
It left Feeney in tears and classified 23rd, from a position of potential victory with Jamie Whincup.
Triple Eight still brought home its record-breaking 10th Bathurst 1000 victory, which proved bittersweet for team boss Whincup.
“I’ve always said this place is about the effort, and I couldn’t be happier with everyone’s effort this weekend,” Whincup said.
"To have two cars in contention for a podium, if not a one-two, is just a true credit to everybody. It didn’t go our way for #88.
"I’m gutted for Broc and the #88 team because they deserved more after the fantastic week they had.
“But as a team we won the Bathurst 1000 so we should still hold our heads very, very high. To come to this great race that’s so easy to lose and to win 50 per cent of the time is massive, and I couldn’t be happier.”
Van Gisbergen reduced Brodie Kostecki’s championship lead to 131 points with 600 on offer at the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 and VAILO Adelaide 500.