décembre 1, 2022

WRC news | Shane van Gisbergen’s incredible ‘dream’ debut achievement

3 min read

Shane van Gisbergen has survived four gruelling days to secure his maiden second-division FIA World Rally Championship podium on debut.

Competing in WRC2, the two-time Supercars champion finished third in his home event, Rally New Zealand, with Australian co-driver Glenn Weston.

The Kiwi bounced back from a near miss on Friday and a puncture on Saturday to wind up 3:25.1s off the lead at the end of the 17-stage rally.

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Hayden Paddon claimed the class win in his Hyundai i20 N, winning his home rally by a whopping 2:33.1s over Kajetan Kajetanowicz of Poland.

On average, van Gisbergen was just three tenths of a second slower per kilometre than Paddon over the course of the 279-kilometre rally.

For the Skoda Fabia R5 pilot, it was a result to savour that included bonus points courtesy of the third fastest time in the Power Stage.

Shane van Gisgergen was an incredible third in WRC2 on his debut. (Aaron Wishart)

Overall, van Gisbergen finished ninth in the rally, meaning he also scored two points in the WRC alongside his 16 points in WRC2.

« It’s not tough, it’s fun, I’m driving a rally car in the World Rally Championship. It’s pretty cool, » said van Gisbergen.

« Glenn and I had a great time. Thanks to all our team and our supporters. I’m living my dream and then to get a podium – like, I’m stoked, I’m having a ball. »

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Such was rally winner Paddon’s pace that he claimed sixth overall in the event, which was marred by several retirements in the top division.

The former factory-backed Hyundai pilot, who was a vocal campaigner for the return of Rally New Zealand, relished the success on home soil.

« It’s been a very long two-and-a-half days since stage three, just trying to manage it and not do anything silly – as much as we wanted to be pushing on these roads, » said Paddon.

Hayden Paddon won the WRC2 division at Rally New Zealand. (Jaanus Ree)

« Awesome weekend. Huge thanks to our team, Hyundai New Zealand, and everyone who has made this program possible.

« Big tick of the box this year. Pleased the pressure of doing this is off because we would have looked like not so good if we did something silly. Very, very happy to get this done. »

Outside of the top three, Australia’s Harry Bates finished fourth in WRC2 while Luke Anear was seventh.

Paddon’s next major outing will be in Australia when he contests the RSEA Motorsport Australia Rally Championships season-finale, the Coffs Coast Rally on November 25-27.

Before that, van Gisbergen will be back in action in Supercars. His biggest race of the year, the Bathurst 1000, takes place across October 6-9.

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