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Van Gisbergen narrows series gap with victory

SVG shines, Whincup crashes in Supercars

The gloves are officially off in the Supercars title fight after Shane van Gisbergen hit back at series leader Scott McLaughlin in Sunday’s Ipswich SuperSprint at Queensland Raceway.

Holden’s Van Gisbergen got the jump on pole-sitter McLaughlin at the start of the Ipswich round’s 200km finale and went on claim the chequered flag by more than two seconds ahead of the Ford star.

Ford’s Chaz Mostert was third, his first podium since last October’s Gold Coast 600.

The stage is now set for a championship dog fight between 2016 series winner van Gisbergen and McLaughlin, who narrowly missed claiming his debut drivers’ title last year.

Van Gisbergen’s fourth win of the year has whittled McLaughlin’s series lead down to just 131 points with seven of the season’s 16 rounds remaining.

“That (start) dictates the race here,” van Gisbergen said.

“If we start up there (front) we can race with them (McLaughlin’s Ford).

“The cars are very even but we are missing something in qualifying consistency – we needed to get that start.

“But I am enjoying the title fight.”

It was a shot in the arm for van Gisbergen after McLaughlin appeared unstoppable at Ipswich.

McLaughlin claimed pole before leading Saturday’s 39-lap race from start to finish to beat van Gisbergen home by more than four seconds.

And the flying Kiwi looked set to deliver more of the same in Sunday’s 65-lap race after again taking out pole position.


It was his 10th pole of the year in 20 races, taking his career haul to 43 and equal third overall on the all-time list with Craig Lowndes.

But van Gisbergen wasn’t to be denied on Sunday.

He enjoyed a blistering start for the second straight day, getting the jump on McLaughlin to snatch the lead by the first turn.

It followed Saturday’s heroics in the opening 120km event where van Gisbergen remarkably moved from eighth to third on the first lap, eventually finishing second.

Sunday’s race lead changed hands as both drivers used different tyre and fuel strategies.

But van Gisbergen emerged seconds ahead of McLaughlin after his second and final pit stop midway through the 65-lap race and was never headed.

“From here on I will just press on, take it as it comes. There’s a lot more points on offer but I am excited about our car pace,” McLaughlin said of the title fight.

Holden star Jamie Whincup finished fourth in the 27-strong field with sentimental favourite Craig Lowndes eighth.

Appearing at his 22nd and final Ipswich round, Lowndes, 44, is enjoying a Supercars swan song after announcing two weeks ago that he would retire from full-time racing at season’s end.

The next round is the Sydney SuperNight 300 from August 3-4.


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