Van Gisbergen is flying to make his debut pole position in Aussie Racing Cars
Shane van Gisbergen stunned the Australian racing car world when he took pole position in his first qualifying session in the category by a wide margin.
The three-time Supercars and Bathurst 1000 champion will be the guest star at the season finale at Highlands Motorsport Park in New Zealand.
Despite the turbulent build-up in training, no one was able to match Van Gisbergen’s raw pace.
After finishing the two practice sessions in seventh and third places, the No. 97 car rose to the top in qualifying.
Van Gisbergen stopped the clock with a time of 1:46.495 and was the only driver to achieve this mark.
Josh Anderson would join SVG on the front row, but was six-tenths ahead of Cody Proszynski and title leader Joel Heinrich.
Just seven points divide the top three places in the standings and Anderson will be looking to make a move on Heinrich, while second in points Rhys Chapman is seventh.
But all eyes will be on Van Gisbergen, who has 48 Supercars columns next to his name, but is still happy to add an Aussie Racing Cars column next to his name.
“It’s been great to be here at Aussie Racing Cars,” Van Gisbergen said.
“In qualifying, I was going well, and I snuck up behind a blue car, I’m not sure who it was, but I got a big tow out of it and got pole, which was very, very cool.”
To make this accomplishment even more impressive, Van Gisbergen’s first day behind the wheel of the No. 97 Camaro Aussie Racing Car did not go as planned.
He endured a choppy first practice session as his team had to change engines after an intermittent gearbox issue in the opening session.
But it all happened in Practice 2, when he stopped the clocks in third place and rose to first place in qualifying after taking a big stream from one of his rivals on a fast lap.
“We had a drama with the gearbox. It had ghost gears, so we changed the engine and I missed the first practice,” Van Gisbergen recalls.
“Practice 2 was great. I had some battles and learned how to race these cars.
Looking at the four races, Van Gisbergen expects one thing: a great race.
“The race is going to be a blast. There are five or six fast people, and through all the classes, everyone is very close,” he said.
“The Highland Circuit is perfect for these cars. The track is very technical, fast and flowing, and I’m sure they will make a lot of passes in the races.
“It’s going to be epic.”
In the Masters Cup, Brett Osborne grabbed the fast time ahead of class leader Kent Quinn.
The Gold Cup trophies went to Scott Dornan while the Rookie Cup will see Scott Andiski take the lead over his rivals.
The Aussie Racing Cars Final will be broadcast live on Fox Sports and Kayo from 10.30 AEST on Saturday morning.
Australian racing car qualifiers
1 Shane van Gisbergen 1:46.495
2 Josh Anderson +0.671
3 Cody Proszynski +0.760
4 Joel Heinrich +0.928
5 Scott Andreski +1,770
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