Shane van Gisbergen ticks title fight box with Adelaide Shootout berth
Van Gisbergen still not “comfortable” with Red Bull Ampol Camaro
Kiwi battled handling issues in Practice 2 before qualifying fourth
Reaching the first VAILO Adelaide 500 Top Ten Shootout was a ticked box for title contender Shane van Gisbergen, who is still not “comfortable” with his Red Bull Ampol Camaro.
On a day Brodie Kostecki claimed provisional pole in ARMOR ALL Qualifying, van Gisbergen had a mixed day with on 10th practice and fourth in qualifying.
Van Gisbergen, who is aiming for a third straight championship, didn’t complete the final runs in Practice 2 due to a suspected steering rack problem.
The reigning champion recovered to fourth in qualifying, and will be seventh man out in Saturday’s Shootout, which will set the grid for Race 27.
Saturday’s race looms as the most important of the year — van Gisbergen must finish at least second should Kostecki win to take the title fight to Sunday.
“Not the best day for me, unfortunately,” van Gisbergen said.
“I still don’t feel comfortable in the car, but we’ve made tomorrow’s Shootout so that’s a box we needed to tick.
“Looking at the positives, out of the car, everyone has been fantastic. The team, the fans, my family and friends – it’s been amazing to have so much support from everyone.
“Our team in the garage is working super hard so hopefully we can reward them over the next couple of days.
“We’ll review everything tonight, work hard with the crew and focus on the Shootout and the race tomorrow.”
Van Gisbergen’s teammate Broc Feeney had a tougher day, qualifying 11th after missing the balance of Practice 2 with an engine problem.
In qualifying, Feeney missed out on a Shootout berth by less than 0.05s, having copped a late kerb hop.
“We were a little bit surprised rolling into the track this morning with the weather being dry, and we got a few laps in the first session this afternoon but the engine stopped, unfortunately,” said Feeney, who is nine points behind Will Brown for third in the standings.
“The boys did a mega job to get the other engine in the car and get it out with no problems.
“I’m feeling pretty disappointed to miss out on the Shootout again. The last three Shootouts, I’ve missed out by a couple of hundredths, so I’m pretty bummed.
“I’m disappointed to miss out by such a small margin, but I just need to do better because I hate being on the wrong side of the Shootout.
“Now we can focus on the race car and hopefully we can do a long run during tomorrow’s practice and figure out what the car is going to be like.
“Last year’s first race was pretty wild, so I think anything can happen.”
VAILO Adelaide 500 action on Saturday will get underway with Practice 3 at 9:45am local time/10:15am AEDT.