Motorsport: Van Gisbergen goes rallying

Kiwi motorsport star Shane van Gisbergen has headed for the gravel after he surprisingly quit V8 Supercars recently.

The immensely talented 23-year-old walked away from an enviable position in the Aussie-based V8 series, where he consistently pushed the Stone Brothers Racing Ford Falcon to solid results - including a win last year at the Hamilton 400, which van Gisbergen still considers a career highlight.

He signalled a break from the championship with two rounds to go, and ran his last V8 touring car race in Sydney two weeks ago.

Whether the young gun his looking at the forest for the next step in his career remains to be seen, but he was filmed testing rally champion Chris West's Mitsubishi Evo 9 in Maramarua forest last week.

It is understood that van Gisbergen is able to race competitively in a rally car, but not a V8 or touring car. The car that he tested in Maramarua was the same machine that Chris West drove to second place in Rally of Otago last season.

And it's fair to say that Westy - who will be driving the brand-spanking new Andrew Simms Mitsubishi Evo 10 next season - was impressed by van Gisbergen's performance.

"We expected Shane to be quick but I think we were all surprised at how quickly he got
in the groove and how quickly he advanced on each consecutive run", he said. "Shane certainly has the ability and the attitude to do very well in rallying.

"It is a great car and one in which Shane could easily give the established rally competitors a hurry up," he warned.

nzherald.co.nz

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