Motorsport: SVG looks at big picture as Bathurst begins

By Dale Budge

Shane Van Gisbergen winning at the V8 Supercars Sydney SuperSprint. Photo / Getty Images
Shane Van Gisbergen winning at the V8 Supercars Sydney SuperSprint. Photo / Getty Images

Championship leader Shane Van Gisbergen is prepared to play the long game rather than put it all on the line for a win at the series' most famous venue this weekend.

It is this time of the season each year that drivers are faced with the dilemma of trying to think about the championship and driving to bank points or risking it all in order to win the famous Bathurst 1000 endurance race.

The 27-year-old Red Bull Racing Holden driver identifies winning the championship as a bigger priority than standing atop the podium on Sunday but don't count him out as a race winner.

"It is just one round so it would be good to win here but we are here to score as many points at possible," he tells herald.co.nz.

"We will do our best to win the race."

Asked what the great race means to him - Van Gisbergen replied with steely resolve.

"300 points."

"It is a 1000km race - six and a half hours is what it usually takes. It is pretty crazy and a lot of stuff happens and you don't have an easy race.

"You just want to get through those first five and a half hours and give yourself a shot at having a crack in the final hour."

The Kiwi knows how cruel Bathurst can be. He came agonisingly close to winning it in 2014 but a minor stall when exiting from his final pit stop saw a mechanical problem ruin his race.

He says that disappointment doesn't drive him now but you get the sense that he has a date with destiny at Mt Panorama.

As a youngster Van Gisbergen remembers watching the iconic race on television and dreaming of winning there behind the wheel one day.

"Always - right from whenever I first watched it," he says.

"Every race fan wants to win at Bathurst.

"We will be right. We know we have a strong car and strong team - I just look forward to getting out there and getting into it."

The event gets underway today with practice.

- NZ Herald

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