It surprises no one, but Shane van Gisbergen has made one impressive start to his Australian rally campaign.
The Kiwi is second overall after yesterday’s opening leg of the National Capital Rally in Canberra.
Van Gisbergen is roughly 80 seconds off the lead with six stages remaining.
Despite not getting a stage win, van Gisbergen was consistently in the top pack of his cars. His transition from the grunt of a Supercar to the off-road muscle of a Skoda Fabia R5 was seamless.
“It was pretty awesome,” he said. “The day had all types of conditions. There was dust and then it was super muddy and then it was wet and in the end there was a lot high grip.”
Reflecting on the day, van Gisbergen says he is about one second slower every kilometre than leader Harry Bates (Toyota GR Yaris A4).
Even so, van Gisbergen reckons he is still only warming up and is yet to fully commit to the car’s limits.
“I’m not committing in the high speeds yet but that will come,” he said.
“I will see how I feel tomorrow and if I am confident, I will keep pushing hard, but it is a great way to start.”
On three of seven stages, van Gisbergen finished within ten seconds of Bates.
He has a steady lead over third place and looks set for a podium finish if he can keep it together for one more day.
Main Image: Epic Sports Photography