Motorsport: Bitter-sweet second placing for Van Gisbergen

By Dale Budge

Alex Premat and Shane Van Gisbergen celebrate on the Bathurst podium. Photo / Getty Images
Alex Premat and Shane Van Gisbergen celebrate on the Bathurst podium. Photo / Getty Images

Shane Van Gisbergen is happy to take second place at Bathurst but he is frustrated luck didn't go his way to allow him to fight harder for a maiden win at the iconic track.

The Red Bull Racing driver and co-driver Alex Premat finished second to Will Davison and Jonathan Webb in the closest ever finish to the Great Race but he lost significant time in the pits due to stacking behind teammate Jamie Whincup and was forced to conserve fuel all day.

"It was a pretty intense last few stints," the 27-year-old said afterwards. "I didn't do a lap flat out until after the last safety car. We were saving fuel the whole day.

"We double stacked three times or something so it was pretty tough from our end.

"We had really good speed but we kept getting put behind.

"Both Alex and I were quite fast.

"It would have been good to fight it out flat out but it is what it is."

Van Gisbergen had a four-lap sprint to the end after the final safety car where he attacked Davison's Holden - coincidentally the same car the Kiwi drove the past three seasons.

Todd Kelly's stricken Nissan ensured double yellow flags at the end of Conrod Straight meant the primary passing spot was off-limits in the closing stages. He made a couple of dives at Davison but wasn't able to get the move made at the top of the Mountain and in the end was left with a bitter-sweet second placing - two years after he saw an almost certain win in the Tekno Holden evaporate with a mechnical problem in his final pit stop.

"It was a pretty cool last 10 laps. I definitely gave it a shot to win the race but it is cool to come second.

"If you watched the last 10 laps I was giving it everything I had."

"It is one of the few cars that you would be happy for them to beat you. I'm pretty stoked for them because we went through a pretty tough time here a couple of years ago. They are all pretty much the same guys I worked with the last couple of years.

"I'm very happy for them but I definitely wanted to beat them."

With teammate and championship rival Whincup relegated to 11th after an incident in the closing stages Van Gisbergen has opened up his championship lead to 139 points.

Whincup is appealing the stewards' decision but assuming his penalty isn't overturned the Kiwi will take a big lead into the final endurance event of the year on the Gold Coast in a fortnight.

"I've always said I wouldn't think about the championship until after the Gold Coast.

"I will be pushing as hard as I can at the Gold Coast and then we'll think about it.

"There is no point conserving, just try and accumulate as many points as possible."

- NZ Herald

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