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Relentless van Gisbergen closing on title

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/11/2016

<span style="font-size:13px;">A sustained assault on every round is behind Shane van Gisbergen's charge to the verge of a V8 Supercars championship title.</span> © Getty Images A sustained assault on every round is behind Shane van Gisbergen's charge to the verge of a V8 Supercars championship title. Championship leader Shane van Gisbergen says he's no longer a stuttering force in V8 Supercars, revelling in the sustained assault at every venue this year.

Van Gisbergen can wrap up the title on home soil and become New Zealand's first series champion for 25 years with a dominant performance at this week's penultimate event, the Auckland SuperSprint.

Van Gisbergen predicts his Triple Eight Race crew will have his Holden prepared thoroughly once again at Pukekohe Park Raceway, as they have for the previous 12 rounds.

The 27-year-old says a relentless approach to every round was never a feature during five seasons at Stone Brothers Racing and another three at Tekno Autosports.

He has never finished in the top five in the championship but says the difference this year was obvious at his new team.

"In the past with Stone Brothers and Tekno, you'd go to some tracks where you know you're going to be good and then you know you're going to be mediocre at others," he said.

"It's been pretty cool to go to every track and be competitive, not just selective ones.

"We've had a good base set-up at every track and you can take the car out and be good straight away."

Van Gisbergen says the best example of a rags to riches circuit was round four at Perth's Barbagallo Raceway, where he placed second and fourth, having struggled there previously.

He has notched six wins and his five runners-up finishes include a career-best drive at Bathurst.

The Auckland-born driver holds a 148-point lead over team-mate Jamie Whincup heading into four races at Pukekohe and two races in Sydney in December. His other team-mate Craig Lowndes sits third but is an unlikely title contender.

The Australian pair are multiple series winners and Van Gisbergen says he has learned plenty from both.

However, he admits the mood within the team is changing as the title-deciding races loom.

"It's not awkward, it's been good," he said.

"We were really working together to beat everyone else, not against each other.

"We've got to look at each other now. There's a lot of racing to go and a lot of points up for grabs."

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