SVG dominates the 66th running of the New Zealand Grand Prix

Shane van Gisbergen has overcome an extraordinary pre-race blunder to become the 66th winner of the New Zealand Grand Prix.

Giltrap Group sponsored, Shane van Gisbergen, had all but written off his chances of a decent run in the 66th NZGP when he accidently set off his vehicle’s fire extinguisher instead of starting the car. Despite being forced to start from the Pit Lane in last position, he outclassed the entire field to win the event by over two seconds.

There’s little doubt we are witnessing the meteoric rise of Shane van Gisbergen after he cements yet another victory in yet another motorsport discipline. 

Following on from flawless victories at the Bathurst 1000 and Battle of Jack’s Ridge rally last year, the 31 year old can now add the New Zealand Grand Prix to his growing list of wins. It could’ve easily been a different outcome however after SVG pressed the wrong button ahead of the race. 

“Some numpty went to start the car and pushed the fire extinguisher button, so she was a bit of a panic,” said van Gisbergen. 

“I’ve never done that in my life. I got all the stuff in my eyes and wondered what was happening. Turns out I had pressed the wrong button. 

Unable to start from the 10th position he qualified in, Shane and his team were forced to clean the vehicle, refill the extinguisher and start the GP from pit lane. 

The numpty move was just another hurdle van Gisbergen had to overcome after struggling with the set up. 

Talking candidly about the vehicle’s suitability for a taller driver like himself, SVG expressed his frustration “Firstly, trying to fit in it the last few days was difficult,” van Gisbergen said  

“I did the test last week, but then my helmet was too high – so I had to shuffle and sink down in the car. 

“The car, to say it nicely, is poorly designed. The steering is super close and you’re driving with your wrists.” 

He eventually was able to fold his frame into the car though and found form, as well as some luck with a safety car intervention that allowed him to carve his way through the field convincingly upon race start. 

 

“The car was awesome, perfect safety car and then I don’t know how the front wing is still on the car, I had to rough up a few guys. That was unreal, unreal,” an ecstatic van Gisbergen said after claiming the win. 

“The prep we’ve put in with [M2 Competition’s Mark] Pilch, and [series manager] Nico Caillol helping me get used to the car, the boys all weekend the car’s been faultless at M2. 

Van Gisbergen’s name joins legends of the sport including Jack Brabham, Graham Hill, Bruce McLaren, Stirling Moss, Keke Rosberg, Jackie Stewart and John Surtees on the New Zealand GP trophy. As well as three-time winner Kenny Smith, who remarkably at 79, completed his 50th Grand Prix on the weekend.  

More recently van Gisbergen follows fellow Giltrap sponsored driver, Liam Lawson, McLaren F1 star Lando Norris and Super Formula champion Nick Cassidy as winners of the race. He is also the very first to win the Grand Prix at new destination, Hampton Downs, rather than the traditional Manfeild. 

 

66th NEW ZEALAND GRAND PRIX RESULT 

 

1.Shane van Gisbergen 
2.André Heimgartner 
3.Matthew Payne* 
4.Kaleb Ngatoa 
5.Damon Leitch 
6.Brendon Leitch 
7.Daniel Gaunt 
8.Billy Frazer 
9.Greg Murphy 
10.Conrad Clark 
11.Tom Alexander 
12.Chris van der Drift* 
13.Chris Vlok 
14.Joshua Bethune 
15.Kenny Smith 

 

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