Motorsport: Van Gisbergen claims pole

Shane van Gisbergen. Photo / Wayne Drought
Shane van Gisbergen. Photo / Wayne Drought

Talented young New Zealander Shane van Gisbergen will start from his first pole position in today's Sandown 500 V8 Supercar endurance race.

Van Gisbergen led a Ford one-two in yesterday's sprint race qualifier with David Reynolds second and Garth Tander bringing home the first Holden in third spot.

The race for main drivers was disastrous for the series stars with points leader Jamie Whincup making a rare error and spearing off the track while running second.

Holden team-mate and championship contender Craig Lowndes also lost out with brake lock-ups while Mark Winterbottom - second on points before qualifying - had a dismal run.

In a dramatic and hectic 20-lapper, Whincup hit a tyre wall and eventually finished 19th.

Van Gisbergen is confident of a good run in today's enduro.

He said mechanics had worked hard to turn the car's performance around from practice on Friday.

"We were really struggling, we were laughing at how bad the car was," van Gisbergen said. "But the guys did a great job, tuned it up well and we're on pole so we can get a good result with this car, I'm sure."

The 23-year-old broke through for his first race win at home in Hamilton last year and is looming as a potential endurance race winner. Hayden Paddon started strongly on the opening day of Wales Rally GB yesterday but electrical and gearbox issues saw the Kiwi retire partway through the day and prepare to restart on day two, raced overnight.

Paddon started the rally second of the Super 2000 World Rally Championship competitors behind Swede Per-Gunnar Andersson.

Together with co-driver John Kennard, they were quickest among the SWRC competitors and 14th fastest overall setting a sharp pace for the 20.48km stage. They were 4.4 seconds quicker than Andersson.

Things started to go wrong on stage two when the Skoda lost all power with an ignition problem.

The rally re-start rules means Paddon and Kennard were given stage times for the remainder of the day's six stages calculated by adding five minutes to the category winner's time.

Wales Rally GB continued from the base in Cardiff and ran over military and forest roads before for the final stage of the day near Newport. Tonight sees another repeated loop of three stages west of Cardiff.

- APNZ

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