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Holden team mood 'not awkward': Giz

AAP logoAAP 1/11/2016

The mood within his team might be changing with the Supercars drivers' championship title in sight.

But series leader Shane van Gisbergen insists relations with Holden teammate - and main title rival - Jamie Whincup aren't awkward ahead of this weekend's pivotal Auckland SuperSprint round.

Flying Kiwi van Gisbergen is in the box seat to claim a maiden Supercars crown and be the first New Zealand driver to achieve the feat in 25 years.

He holds a 148 point lead over Supercars great Whincup.

Two rounds - and a total of 600 points - remain on offer.

Usually, Whincup is the man to beat at the pointy end of a season - now it's van Gisbergen.

It's enough to create tension between teammates.

Van Gisbergen, 27, admitted his Red Bull Racing (RBR) team's environment had become more intense ahead of Auckland's four 100km races at Pukekohe Park Raceway.

But he insisted: "It's not awkward - it's been good.

"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."

Few would bet against van Gisbergen this weekend on home soil, especially with him still buzzing from claiming the Pirtek Cup with co-driver Alex Premat after the third and final endurance round, this month's Gold Coast 600.

And the Holden gun revels on a street circuit - the layout for the final round, December's Sydney 500.

He would become only the third Kiwi to claim a national touring car title after Jim Richards (1991) and Robbie Francevic (1986).

Not that van Gisbergen is getting ahead of himself.

"I don't pay any attention to it (media) anyway. People write whatever they want. I don't really care - I just go racing," he told the Supercars website.

He wasn't talking down his chances, however.

Van Gisbergen has savoured instant success at RBR this year with six wins and five runner-up finishes including a career-best second at the Bathurst 1000.

He failed to finish in the championship's top five in five seasons at Stone Brothers Racing and another three at Tekno Autosports.

"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," van Gisbergen said.

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

Practice for the Auckland SuperSprint starts on Friday.

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