Red Bull Ampol Racing engineer David Cauchi has praised the commitment levels of Shane van Gisbergen over last weekend’s clean sweep at Sandown.
Van Gisbergen suffered a broken collarbone and three cracked ribs in a mountain bike accident two weeks out from the second round of this year’s Repco Supercars championship.
Despite driving in persistent discomfort from the injuries, van Gisbergen managed to walk away with all three race wins over the weekend and extend his championship lead.
Van Gisbergen’s race engineer Cauchi says the fact he managed to achieve such an extraordinary result is yet to sink in.
But Cauchi believes the determination of his driver to battle through the pain just to get back in the car was the highlight.
“It was questionable whether he would even be able to drive,” Cauchi said on the Inside Supercars podcast.
“To come away from the weekend with two pole positions and three race wins is fairly unbelievable. I don’t think it has quite sunk in just yet.
“I am unbelievably proud of Shane and what he has done for the last two weeks since his mountain biking accident.
“He was 100 per cent committed to getting back in the car at Sandown, and he just did everything in his power to make sure that happened.
“So, I couldn’t be happier for him and what everyone did for him. It was an exceptional outcome.”
Saturday’s race saw the Kiwi charge from 17th on the grid to victory lane.
The win resulted from a strategic masterstroke, which Cauchi says played perfectly into van Gisbergen’s and Red Bull’s hands.
“Qualifying on Saturday definitely didn’t go to plan,” he said.
“We felt like we were better than 17th, and I think we didn’t quite get the car right. I think it was probably more the car than Shane that wasn’t able to extract the lap time out that we needed in the time we had.
“But we knew we had a strong race car and didn’t drop our heads [after qualifying]. We knew we had something to work with, so we just made sure we maximised the result from our poor qualifying performance.
“I think we read the race well with what was going on in front. Chaz [Mostert] pitted early, and [Mark] Winterbottom, [James] Courtney and Cam Waters played a long strategy as well.
“It sort of played into our hands when Chaz started bring them all back into him as he started to hit some tyre deg. It all went to plan.”
Cauchi added that the next few weeks in the build-up to round three in Tasmania are still critical for Shane and his recovery.
“He is still not 100 per cent. So, we still have to monitor him and take the next two weeks as seriously as we did in the lead up to Sandow.
“We will wait to see how he has recovered and see what impact the weekend has had on his recovery.”
Symmons Plains will host the next round of the Supercars championship over April 10-11.