Van Gisbergen's rally comeback undone by car dramas

13 May 2023
Supercars star competing on home soil in Whangarei
2 mins by James Pavey

Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen’s rally comeback on home soil has been hindered by car dramas.

A week out from the Ned Whisky Tasmania SuperSprint, van Gisbergen is competing in the International Rally of Whangarei.

The Red Bull Ampol Racing driver completed a shakedown on Friday, but electrical dramas curtailed his Saturday.

Van Gisbergen, who finished on the Rally New Zealand WRC2 podium last year, was even unable to make the start of Special Stage 1.

The two-time Bathurst winner's #2 Audi S1 AP4 suffered an electrical system fault.

The car was latter fitted with replacement parts, with van Gisbergen managing to watch the action prior to his return.

While van Gisbergen was forced to retire from the day’s action, he did return for the evening runs of the 1.15km Pohe Island stage.

Van Gisbergen was second only to Hayden Paddon in both stages, with former WRC star Paddon dominating the day’s action.

Hyundai driver Paddon leads Skoda duo Ben Hunt and Raana Horan in the overall standings.

Van Gisbergen is expected to be a factor on Sunday, given he has been seeded second for the event.

However, he isn't feeling the pressure, saying before the event: "It is a compliment to be seeded second but it is a bit higher than I thought I should be.


"This is the first of four rounds for us this year and the roads look awesome.

"We obviously want to be competitive, but we need to get to the end of the rally.

"Realistically I don’t think we will be pushing for fastest stage times or anything. Having Hayden competing is the perfect comparison to measure ourselves against.

"Certainly not aiming for his times as he is a full WRC-level driver but just seeing how far away from him we are will be good.

"As I get more familiar with the car and get more miles under my belt, we can push a bit harder."

The Kiwi wasn’t the only Supercars driver in action prior to Tasmania, with Triple Eight team-mate Broc Feeney competing in Thailand.

Feeney is competing for Triple Eight in the team’s GT World Challenge Asia entry at Buriram, with Race 1 commencing at the time of publication.

Tickford Racing’s drivers also enjoyed some valuable seat time at Norwell Motorplex in Queensland.

The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will resume at the NED Whisky Tasmania SuperSprint on May 19-21.

Tickets for the event are on sale on Supercars.com and Ticketek.com.

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