Shane van Gisbergen has extended his lead in the Repco Australia Supercars Championship despite not winning a race at The Bend Motorsport Park over the weekend. What he showed in the weekend is that if you cannot win, be consistent.

It was a Ford dominated round with Andre Heimgartner (Kelly Grove Racing) winning the opening Race 9, Shell V-Power Team’s Anton De Pasquale winning Race 10 and Tickford Racing’s Cam Waters Race 11.

Van Gisbergen has been winless over the last five races, having won the first six, but now has a 190-point buffer over Red Bull Ampol Racing team mate, Jamie Whincup, heading to the Winton SuperSprint in three-weeks’ time.

“It felt like a weird weekend overall, but it’s really good to get a couple of podium results today,” commented van Gisbergen. “To come out on top of the points and win the round is awesome, so we have to be happy about that.

“The last race today was full on. We tried something different in our pit stop; we changed our side tyres and Cam (Waters) changed his rears, and even though we had the car speed we just couldn’t get past him, and we had to settle for second.

“For some reason yesterday (Saturday) we’re really struggling with grip, so we were quite slow in qualifying which showed in our result as we only managed to qualify eighth. That was quite frustrating.

“We had a really average qualifying again today, particularly the first qualifying session, but the guys have done a good job at trying different things with the cars. We’re still quite a way away with our qualifying results, but we’re always tweaking things and hopefully come out of the gates at Winton.”

Van Gisbergen was the most consistent top-ten finisher for the round with a seventh, third and second across the three races. De Pasquale’s team mate, Will Davison, was close behind with an eighth, second and third, moving into fourth overall on the points table.

Van Gisbergen’s nearest rival and team mate, Whincup, had an average round with a sixth, 11th and fourth. Yet, third overall, Chaz Mostert, had the opportunity to close the gap to Whincup but retired from Race 10, having finished second in the opener.

Waters was similar. Finishing fourth in Race 9, he also retired from Race 10 before wining the final Race 11. Mostert and Waters’ retirements was due to Race 9 winner, Andre Heimgartner, forcing Tim Slade wide forcing Mostert left into Cameron Waters, after Slade came back onto the racing line. Mostert was to describe his contact with Waters as a ‘dodgem cars’ incident, continuing their on-track rivalry.

The other race winner, De Pasquale finished third in Race 9, set fastest qualifying times for the next two races and went on to win Race 10, but gathered no points from Race 11 after retiring with an engine misfire.

The key take from The Bend, if you can get your head around these results, is like all championships, if you cannot win then finishing is the key and preferably finishing well. Van Gisbergen did this while his rivals did not and they continue to fall further behind him in the overall 2021 Repco Australia Supercars Championship.


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