The penultimate round of the season is upon us and this time next week we’ll be heading across the ditch to the land of the sheep. That’s right; it’s nearly time for ‘Puke’, aka the ITM Auckland SuperSprint.
It’s also time for Shane van Gisbergen to head home and fill up on his mum’s delicious cooking.
“I love the fact that I can stay at home during this trip because it means I get to eat Mum’s cooking most nights,” he said.
As good as his Mum’s cooking is, we’re sure that’s not the only reason Shane’s keen to head back to NZ…
Hailing from the outskirts of Auckland, SVG is basically a local around these tracks and he’ll have much of the crowd backing him down there.
“I also have most of my family down at the track for the weekend so it’s always a crazy round for me.
“The atmosphere is unreal at Pukekohe and it’s great to be able to race at such an awesome track with a crowd as vocal as the Kiwis are.”
After winning the coveted Jason Richards Memorial Trophy last year, the speed demon is keener than ever to hit the track again – considered one of the fastest tracks in the Supercars calendar.
“It’s always pretty cool to see the cars at such a good track like this one – high speed with big attitude through the bumps and corners,” he said.
“It’s actually quite similar to Sandown, being around a horse racing track, but the speeds are much higher with an increase in risk too.”
And adding another dimension to the race this year is the change in race format – instead of the four smaller races, we’ll now see two longer races with pit stops.
“Hopefully we’ll see some better racing,” he said.
“The race has been lacking passing opportunities so having pit stops and strategy this year should help that.”
On the other side of the garage, current championship leader, J-Dub will have his head down as he races to hold on to his lead.
“We’re at the pointy end of the season now and things will get interesting, but nothing will change from my end,” he said.
“We’ll just try and prepare as well as we can and go over there and battle hard.
“I really enjoy New Zealand, especially with its amazing countryside.”
Hmmm… Let’s just hope the beautiful countryside doesn’t distract him too much as he makes his way around the track.
So there we have it, the two bulls are raring to go and it’s not long until we see how it all plays out.
“I feel like we have good momentum on the #97 side of the garage and we’re having a lot of fun within the team,” Shane said.
“The key to a good weekend in Pukekohe is to keep focused and prepare well.
“One thing I know is that the feeling is epic when you’ve done a good quali here!”
Yep, that’s what it’s all about. 🙂