Kiwi Supercars driver Shane van Gisbergen has overcome a horror start to move to claim a vital third place in today's 250km race on the streets of Sydney and secure a maiden Supercars championship.

After a horror start where he dropped five spots from pole position at the first corner and then got hit with a pit lane penalty for spinning Mark Winterbottom the New Zealander dropped to the rear of the field.

Source: SKY Sport & V8 Supercars Media. Shane Van Gisbergen interview after he astoundingly finishes third to secure the Supercars championship

But a smart strategy, fast car and timely safety car intervention allowed the Red Bull Racing driver back into the game and he capitalized on fresher tyres during the closing stages of the race to make some key passing moves to collect enough points to take an unassailable lead in the title race ahead of tomorrow's finale.

Van Gisbergen on the podium. Photo / Getty Images
Van Gisbergen on the podium. Photo / Getty Images

Teammate and title rival Jamie Whincup eased to victory but van Gisbergen did enough to ensure he becomes the third New Zealander and first since Jim Richards in 1991 to win the championship.

Advertisement

A delighted van Gisbergen admitted he did it the hard way.

"Pretty amazing feeling," van Gisbergen said after the race.

"Sorry to Mark [Winterbottom] - I went up the inside and just didn't commit. It was his right to turn in there and my fault.

"Awesome car and to come through like that - lucky safety car - but good racing.

"It has been an amazing year.

"I just want to do a burnout but we will do that tomorrow."

Whincup did all he could but conceded the task was just too big.

"We gave it all we could like we have done all year," the six time series champion said.

"Big congratulations to Shane and all the #97 crew. The winner of the championship is the most consistent and they have been the most consistent.

"Not quite our year but I hope everyone enjoyed the battle."

The Holden Racing Team duo of Garth Tander and James Courtney collected second and fifth respectively in what will be the team's final round with Holden factory backing.

Van Gisbergen of Red Bull Racing. Photo / Getty Images
Van Gisbergen of Red Bull Racing. Photo / Getty Images

New Zealander Scott McLaughlin finished fourth in his Volvo in his final round with the GRM Team as he jumped Craig Lowndes for third place in the championship. Lowndes was sixth today.

Starting from pole van Gisbergen made a terrible start to the race and was swamped by Whincup off the line and then by the chasing pack at the first corner.

He dropped to sixth place but settled down and found some rhythm after that.

But just as he looked to be working on getting into an all-important top five spot he couldn't quite make a successful move on defending champ Mark Winterbottom and spun the Ford driver around.

Van Gisbergen sprayed with champagne after the title win. Photo / The Edge
Van Gisbergen sprayed with champagne after the title win. Photo / The Edge

The Kiwi was handed a pit lane penalty as a result that dropped him to the back of the field.

Super Black Racing's horror weekend continued with Chris Pither suffering serious damage to the back right corner of the car after being turned around at the first corner and his race was over.

The New Zealand team announced they will take a year out of the sport next season.

Tomorrow's last race of the season will take place over 250km in the final race on the streets of Sydney with the series ending in Newcastle in 2017.

The only championship battle still up for grabs is for third place with McLaughlin holding a narrow nine point lead over Lowndes.