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Van Gisbergen dares to dream of title

AAP logoAAP 21/10/2016 Laine Clark

For the first time Shane van Gisbergen has dropped his guard and wondered aloud what it would be like to win a maiden Supercars championship.

The flying Kiwi had up until now been tight-lipped about his title prospects despite retaining his championship lead after a controversial Bathurst 1000.

However, van Gisbergen finally admitted he was in the box seat for Supercars title No.1 after returning to his happy hunting ground and dominating practice ahead of this weekend's Gold Coast 600.

He topped the practice time sheets after Friday's three sessions, clocking one minute, 10.42 seconds ahead of this weekend's two 300km races that look set to decide the 2016 title.

Van Gisbergen leads the series, 139 points ahead of nearest rival and Holden teammate Jamie Whincup with three rounds - and a potential 900 points - left.

"I guess you're always nervous to a certain extent but I'm more pumped, excited," van Gisbergen said of his title hopes.

"I've got a pretty good opportunity here.

"I haven't had a shot like this before with a good team and great car and good co-driver (Alex Premat) as well.

"We've had a really good endurance season so I am more excited than anything to push on and try and get as many points as we can."

It seems the stars have aligned for van Gisbergen to finally claim his maiden Supercars title.

The flying Kiwi thrives on street circuits - which just happens to be the format for the last three rounds this year.

He is in the box seat to at least claim the Enduro Cup - to be decided by the Gold Coast round - with Premat after finishing second in the Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000 ahead of the series' final leg this weekend.

His track record at the Gold Coast is also impressive - he has earned two wins in as many years on the tourist strip.

"I think every driver loves coming here," van Gisbergen said.

Holden veteran Craig Lowndes admitted all eyes were on what van Gisbergen could do on the concrete wall-lined tourist strip circuit this weekend.

"There's no doubt Shane has had some great performances here in the past," Lowndes said.

"We all know you have to qualify in the first two rows to be a chance of winning the race."

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