7 Nov 2016

Van Gisbergen has one hand on Supercars trophy

7:14 am on 7 November 2016

New Zealand driver Shane van Gisbergen has one hand on the V8 Supercars driver's trophy for 2016 after winning the Auckland SuperSprint over the weekend.

Jamie Whincup (L) and Shane van Gisbergen.

Jamie Whincup (L) and Shane van Gisbergen. Photo: Copyright free

Van Gisbergen finished first, second, third and second in the four races at the Pukekohe raceway to put a 191 point buffer between him and his Red Bull teammate Jamie Whincup with just one round remaining.

Whincup - the six-time drivers champion from Australia - may have won the final race of the weekend at Pukekohe but van Gisbergen is firmly in the driver's seat heading into the final event in Sydney next month.

The 27-year-old Aucklander has extended his lead in the overall drivers standings and is now just two races away from becoming the first New Zealander to win the title in 25 years.

It would take a disaster for van Gisbergen to lose it with just 300 points on offer in Sydney but he's still hesitant to wave the checkered flag just yet.

"The gap is quite big but we still have to go there (Sydney) and get a good result at least on the Saturday to ease the pressure.

"We did what we set out to do this weekend - no mistakes, four good races and get some good points.

"We increased the lead, that's a bonus, (I'm) pretty stoked. Unfortunately there's an awkward four week break now but I'm looking forward to it," van Gisbergen said.

Van Gisbergen is quietly confident he can get it done though - he's won at Sydney three times.

2014 V8 Supercar Series champion Jamie Whincup.

Shane van Gisbergen's Red Bull team-mate Jamie Whincup Photo: PHOTOSPORT

However his teammate and the man chasing him down, Jamie Whincup, has an even stronger record at Sydney - he's won there five times.

Perhaps that's why he's refusing to write himself off for a possible seventh driver's title.

"I'm not scared of a bit of hard work.

"I never give up, it's not over till the fat lady sings so I'll just keep my head down till the last race," Whincup said.

While the battle for first and second rages on, third place is also far from decided.

Scott McLaughlin celebrates victory at Phillip Island

Scott McLaughlin after his win at Phillip Island. Photo: Mark Horsburgh

In fact another trans-Tasman duel between Australian Craig Lowndes and New Zealander Scott McLaughlin is heating up at the business end of the championship.

McLaughlin is just 21 points behind Lowndes - a 14 year veteran in the V8s.

The 23-year-old from Christchurch says his strategy heading into Sydney will be the same as he's had all year - to try and win every race.

"You've got to try and be consistent.

"I'd love nothing more than to go out there and try and win the race as much as anyone so I think Lowndes is going to be wondering where he is but at the end of the day when I get out on the track I'll just be focussing on my job and making sure I do the best I can."

The final round in Sydney starts on December 2.