THE two-way shootout for the Supercars drivers’ championship turned bitter throughout the present day.
Shane van Gisbergen whacked his properly previous Scott McLaughlin in an Auckland SuperSprint that featured bumps, barges and a controversial five-second penalty.
Van Gisbergen was pressured to flooring his Red Bull Holden to the road to beat the penalty he copped for bashing his properly previous McLaughlin on lap 60 — which he did, the worthwhile margin merely 0.5 seconds.
Showing pretty late race velocity, van Gisbergen put three seconds on McLaughlin in merely 5 laps to take the 70-lap race, the closest in championship in historic earlier.
McLaughlin could nevertheless have the final word snort with Van Gisbergen nonetheless the topic of a post-race investigation for spinning rear wheels all by way of his second pit cease.
If van Gisbergen’s victory is made official it cuts McLaughlin’s lead in title race to solely two components forward of throughout the present day’s second leg in Auckland and the season-finale in Newcastle later this month.
“It’s on,’’ van Gisbergen talked about.
“There is nothing contained in the championship. It goes to be on for the final word three races. I actually cherished the battle due to it was so shut.’’
On present rubber after delaying his pit-stop, van Gisbergen stormed his means on to McLaughlin’s tail and — after shunting his fellow Kiwi as he harassed him for the lead — went for the kill on lap 60.
“That is the toughest I’ve ever needed to drive,’’ van Gisbergen talked about.
“Those final 5 laps have been flat out. Usually you’re merely attempting to get to the very best and I needed to flip it on.
“I wasn’t anticipating the penalty due to it was solely a bit bit bump.
“It woke me as soon as extra up and I needed to do qualifying laps. I’m spent now and it ruined me. I’ll should go and have an ice bathtub now so I’m relaxed for tomorrow.’’
Van Gisbergen admitted he was fearful relating to the final word outcomes of the investigation correct proper right into a spinning wheel all by way of his cease on lap 46.
“Hopefully it isn’t determined contained in the courtroom due to it was the only races I’ve had on observe,” he talked about. “Winning that was one amongst many coolest emotions I’ve had.’’
It was McLaughlin who gained the primary battle of the day when he bounced as soon as extra from a observe crash to edge out van Gisbergen for his 13th pole place of the 12 months.
“I gave myself a kick up the arse,’’ McLaughlin talked about.
“And I believed, these guys gave me an superior car, made it straight as quickly as further. This is all for them.
“Me and Shane have been battling all 12 months. I knew he was going to return as soon as extra fairly onerous there.’’
McLaughlin — on fading rubber — may do nothing to wrestle as soon as extra after van Gisbergen stole the lead with 10 laps left.
“It was good for the followers,’’ McLaughlin talked about.
“To have two of us going at it like that’s good. I used to be struggling when he bought to me and I knew he was going to be tons sooner. I attempted to go defensive however I couldn’t defend.
“I used to be attempting my hardest already (when he was given the penalty) however I’d solely uncover a few tenths. I actually really feel our tyres have been fairly spent.’’
Tickford racer Chaz Mostert continued his sturdy season end to land third.