Van Gisbergen wins NZGP curtain raiser

23 Jan 2021
Red Bull Ampol Racing ace wins ahead of Sunday's grand prix
2 mins by James Pavey

Shane van Gisbergen has translated his successful Supercars form into the Toyota Racing Series season opener at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park.

The Red Bull Ampol Racing driver, who took victory his last Supercars start at last October's Bathurst 1000, claimed the Race 1 win ahead of tomorrow’s New Zealand Grand Prix.

Van Gisbergen, who admitted to Supercars.com that he expected a "tough" return to the NZGP bill, proved he hasn't lost any of his circuit racing speed over the summer.

The Kiwi started on pole alongside countryman Chris van der Drift, who led the early stages of the race.

The duo traded fastest lap times, with the Supercars star looming large in van der Drift's mirrors.

With seven laps to go in the 20-lap race, van Gisbergen pounced on van der Drift and regained the lead.


From there, the 31-year-old sailed through to the victory, albeit by just 0.58s over van der Drift.

Matthew Payne was third, 7.71s down, ahead of Brendon Leitch and Kaleb Ngatoa.

Van Gisbergen's Supercars rival, Kelly Grove Racing's Andre Heimgartner, was 14.44s down in sixth, with four-time Bathurst winner Greg Murphy 13th on his circuit racing return.

Two-time NZGP winner and former Supercars driver Dan Gaunt was seventh, half a second down on Heimgartner.

Van Gisbergen will look to make it two from two on Sunday in Race 2 at 09:40 AEDT, before Race 3, the New Zealand Grand Prix, at 15:20 AEDT.

The Holden hero and Heimgartner will return to Supercars action at next month's Repco Mt Panorama 500. Tickets are on sale now.

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