Shane van Gisbergen: “Strategy not speed behind Townsville win”

Race 18 winner Shane van Gisbergen has said he struggled in the wet conditions despite taking his second win of the year in Sunday’s Townsville 400 race.

The Triple Eight driver inherited the lead at the end of the race after some of his competitors peeled off for fuel just as the time certain clock wound down, putting an end to the first wet race held since Townsville was added to the calendar in 2009.

Despite starting on slick tyres after a shower came over at the beginning of the race, the rain soon came down harder which forced the field onto wet tyres where van Gisbergen says he struggled.

“It was just crazy, right at the start it was in between wets or drys; we were just trying to stay out of trouble,” he said.

“My car got good in the first stint but in the dry second stint we had nothing, I struggled in the last stint I struggled compared to Chaz because he had more grip and was driving awesome.

“Today we didn’t have the best car but definitely the team won that race; the strategy was awesome, (they were) keeping me in the right mindset. I was struggling with grip but we were more competitive than I thought.

“Especially knowing I didn’t have the pace I just had to keep it on the track and circulating. He told me pretty early that Chaz had to pit again and Fabian was probably safe so I just had to keep him behind.”

In the round of pit stops which occurred when the first safety car came out, van Gisbergen says the call was nearly made to go onto wet tyres instead of slicks as Anton de Pasquale in the Erebus car was the only one who went on to the treaded rubber, handing him the race lead as everyone else came to pit.

“I thought it was marginal when we came in the first time and I was asking for info.

“I think Anton was the only one on wets and needed to know what time he was doing because he was in traffic passing cars and still doing the same lap time as me. I knew we had to get in and we got that lap right.

“It was different every lap, you didn’t know what you were going to get. I didn’t have enough grip underneath me; we missed something with the tyre pressures or the setup because it was a full dry setup.

“Normally as soon as it rains we’re away but Chaz was driving well and had a good setup. After the safety car when it was proper wet we should have been on wets then and there was no grips because we started again from cold tyres and brakes but under safety car we had nothing.”

Thanks to the win, a DNF for team-mate Jamie Whincup and a poor result for the Erebus of David Reynolds, van Gisbergen now finds himself sitting third in the points, up three spots but still 499 points away from Scott McLaughlin in the championship lead.

Next up is the home track for the Queensland teams at Ipswich’s Queensland Raceway, running from the 26th to 28th of July.