The Supercars championship is increasingly looking like a battle of the bulls after another day of dominance for Shane Van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup.
Van Gisbergen won Saturday’s opening race of the weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park after an enthralling battle with Red Bull Racing teammate Whincup in the final stages of the 31-lap race.
It’s the New Zealander’s third win from the past six races as the margin between him and championship leader Whincup drops to a mere 98 points.
Whincup tested his younger rival several times, particularly in one exchange on the 28th lap when he put his Commodore halfway off the track in an attempt to pass Van Gisbergen.
It was a situation which had engineers in their shared garage looking away from their monitors.
However, the six-time drivers’ champion is confident the on-track duels between the pair will be hard, but fair.
“You can both be running into each other, which is not ideal, or you can both be driving around circulating,” Whincup said.
“You want to find a good balance. I think we’ve found that balance and, hopefully, we’re both mature enough, done enough racing to continue that. Hopefully, we are in championship contention and it tightens up but there’s still a long, long way to go.”
Van Gisbergen is revelling in his position at the sport’s dominant team, as he chases a maiden drivers’ championship.
“It’s just a pleasure this year to be always having a strong car, always qualifying well and having strong races,” he said.
“This team, Red Bull Racing Australia, is pretty awesome.”
While the Holden duo were slugging it out at the front, their championship rivals endured mixed days.
Volvo’s Scott McLaughlin finished fifth, just ahead of Holden veteran Craig Lowndes.
Defending champion Mark Winterbottom had to settle for 11th place, to now share third on the standings with Lowndes, 186 points behind Whincup.
The Sydney SuperSprint wraps up on Sunday with a 200km race from 2pm.