Photo: Supercars

Shane van Gisbergen likely to race at Sandown, Garth Tander on stand-by

Current Supercars Championship leader Shane van Gisbergen will likely take the wheel of the #97 Triple Eight entry at this weekend’s Sandown SuperSprint despite recovering from a recent injury.

The 2016 series champion suffered a collarbone injury after crashing his mountain bike on March 6, having to be pulled from driving in last weekend’s GT World Challenge races at Phillip Island to assist with his recovery time.

Though the team says he is still healing, it remains likely that he will take part in the round. If he cannot compete, van Gisbergen’s endurance race team-mate Garth Tander will step up to take his seat, having won his last race with van Gisbergen at the 2020 Bathurst 1000.

Triple Eight’s Commercial Operations Officer, Jessica Dane, says the progress from van Gisbergen gives them hope he’ll be fit enough to race on the weekend and have a fighting chance to retain his championship lead.

“I think if you had asked us a week ago, maybe even five days ago, what would were the chances of Plan A rolling out as scripted were, then I would see 60 per cent,” Dane said.

“With a few more days under our belts, his recovery has really accelerated, and I think we can probably say we’re more about maybe 80 per cent coming into the weekend of rolling out Plan A.

“We can do all the simulation and testing that Shane can possibly do. Nothing will really simulate what he will experience in the Supercar until he’s riding those kerbs at Sandown.

“That’s going to be one of the biggest things; he’s had the opportunity to sit in a couple of cars at QR and at Norwell this week.

“He’s reported that he was in a lot less pain than he thought he would be, which is fantastic.

“But we still have to wait and see until he does the real thing come Saturday at Sandown.”

Sandown will be a two-day race weekend across Saturday the 20th and Sunday the 21st of March. van Gisbergen currently has 300 points after clean sweeping the opening round at Mount Panorama.