Triple Eight, and in particular Shane van Gisbergen, bounced back with a vengeance last weekend at round three of the Supercars championship. The Kiwi has had a horror start to the season, stuttering his way through the opening two rounds.

The Symmons Plains track in Tasmania proved ideal for the Holdens to halt the dominance of the Ford Mustangs so far this season (winning all seven races) until van Gisbergen put a halt to proceedings at last Sunday's race.

Red Bull Holden Racing's attempt to get back into championship contention was announced on Saturday when van Gisbergen finished third.

Winning the next day moved him into fourth on the points table, just six behind teammate Jamie Whincup, but a hefty 166 points behind series leader Scott McLaughlin.


"It's been a tough start to the year but obviously last weekend was good," van Gisbergen told the Weekend Herald on his way to Melbourne.

"The previous race [in Tasmania] wasn't too good, so it felt pretty good to get a win. Melbourne was a shocker having a random failure of an engine blow up and then the wheel nut falling off was paying the price of trying to be too fast.

"I think we're there and thereabouts but failure really hurts now the field is so close. We haven't lost any confidence, we just have to get everything right.

"The track [Symmons Plains] has always been really good for us and we've had good set-ups. When you hit the ground with a nice set-up, it makes things so much easier, you just have to focus on the little things.

"This weekend at Phillip Island will be different, as it's a real aerodynamic track and that's where the new car [Mustang] has been really, really fast."

Phillip Island this weekend will be the real test as to whether the Holdens are making inroads to the Ford's perceived aero advantage. The track is one of the best in Australia, with long, fast, sweeping corners.

Van Gisbergen likes the place but is wary about how quick the team will be there at certain parts of the track.

Last year, Triple Eight managed a single podium with van Gisbergen finishing third and the only other Holden to finish inside the top three was David Reynolds with a second.

"This weekend will be the real test to see how the rest of the year will be. I'm still enjoying it all though and this will be a good indicator if we can run with the Mustangs," he said.

The worrying thing for the rest of the pack is McLaughlin appears to have quite the affinity with the Southern Victorian track having won four races from the last six there.

Considering his dominance so far this season, there may be a few alarm bells ringing up and down pit lane.