Whincup wary of van Gisbergen battle

Jamie Whincup says the competition between he and Shane van Gisbergen is good for Triple Eight – but that he also knows the pair have to keep it clean.

Whincup wary of van Gisbergen battle
Race winner Jamie Whincup, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Jamie Whincup, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden and Jamie Whincup, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Race winner Jamie Whincup, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden and Jamie Whincup, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden and Jamie Whincup, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Race winner Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden

Despite there being an intra-team title battle simmering away, the relationship between six-time champion Whincup and new signing van Gisbergen is yet to turn sour.

Speaking to Fox Sports after winning his 100th race at Sydney Motorsport Park on Sunday, Whincup even said that having van Gisbergen join the team has given his own performance a boost. Although he says he is also wary that the pair can’t afford to “trip over each other”.

“No disrespect to [Craig] Lowndes, we’ve been great team-mates for nine years; I certainly really cherish that partnership. But yeah, Shane has thrown another element in there,” said Whincup.

“There’s a balance between working together to bring the whole team up, which I believe we have and the competition has. But we’ve got to make sure we don’t trip over each other as well.

“From here on in, it’s going to be a true test. But there is no indication whatsoever that it’s going to change.

“There’s 50-plus people [in the team] who don’t care who wins, so long as it’s a Red Bull car. We’ve got to be careful that we don’t take each other out. But at the end of the day there’s no team orders. We go out there and race hard, and that’s what it’s all about.”

As if to highlight the neck and neck form between the pair, they staged an epic battle in the closing stages of Saturday’s race at Sydney Motorsport Park. Whincup joked that it was a “selfish” of then to race each other so closely.

“It’s probably a little selfish; there’s obviously a lot of people involved, [and] there’s a lot of money [involved],” he said. “It’s a big deal. But at the end of the day, we just want to go out and race. It’s just fun racing, firing up the inside and rubbing a few door panels.

“So we were selfishly just having as much fun as we could, and trying to get to the finish line first.”

With a second on Saturday and his 100th win on Sunday, Whincup continues to lead van Gisbergen in the standings by 137 points. Lowndes is third 198 points back, while Mark Winterbottom is now the last driver within a round’s worth of points with a 273-point deficit.

Despite showing improved form Scott McLaughlin is now more than a round behind with a 360-point gap, while an average weekend in Sydney has plunged Will Davison to a 555-point deficit.

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