You don’t have to be an avid fan of Australian Supercars to know the name Shane van Gisbergen, but if you’re not tuning into the touring car series, you’re missing out on some frankly excellent racing—like van Gisbergen’s drive from 17th to victory at this weekend’s race at Sandown. Despite still nursing a healing collarbone that required surgery less than two weeks ago. And yes, that 17th-to-first a record number of positions for the ATCC/Supercars race at Sandown.
This season had the promise of excitement now that three-time Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin has moved to America to try his hand at IndyCar racing—and it has delivered. In this event at Sandown, van Gisbergen started off the race down in 17th and quickly made up four spots during the first lap-and-a-half before it was yellow flagged for a crash. On the restart, van Gisbergen kept pushing, dicing with his competitors and taking advantage of the fact that many of the cars in front of him were pitting.
That left van Gisbergen as the final driver to make his stop, and he held on until there were only 11 laps remaining in the race before he did so. Decked out with fresh rubber, the Kiwi was able to absolutely dominate during the final laps.
And dominate he did. Van Gisbergen was down in fourth with two laps to go, but a three-way battle for the lead between polesitter Chaz Mostert, Cam Waters, and Jamie Whincup resulted in every car slowing down. Three turns later, van Gisbergen lunged past Whincup and Mostert to take second.
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That left Cam Waters—and resulted in an incredible battle that lasted throughout the penultimate lap.
It was an exceptional display of side-by-side racing, and it left van Gisbergen in first to take the checkered flag.
Interestingly, van Gisbergen claimed after the race that his injury didn’t slow him down. In fact, the ‘weird’ position of his steering wheel seemed to help him out.
“We started with the gearshift [resistance] lower, but the strength isn’t too bad, it’s just the movement, lifting my arm and stuff,” he said. “So I had to lower the wheel and bring it a lot closer. It feels a bit weird but once I was out there I got used to it.”
He also credited a swap in medication as the reason he was able to be so competitive: “Last week was super tough. I was on weird drugs that make you think weird things. I’m on some [different] stuff this week that’s much better. Drugs are no good, I don’t see the appeal to them.”
According to Cam Waters and Jamie Whincup, their inability to pass Chaz Mostert left van Gi sbergen in the ideal position to take the win.
If you’re not watching Supercars, go out and sample Superview, the series’ streaming platform. The racing is some of the most exciting you can watch.