Supercars leader rips into 'cheese grater' track as series returns

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·Sports Reporter
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Shane van Gisbergen was unhappy with the quality of the track surface at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Supercars championship leader Shane van Gisbergen likened the surface of Sydney Motorsport Park to a 'cheese grater' after =the first race of the series' return. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

Supercars championship leader Shane van Gisbergen has slammed the track surface at Sydney Motorsport Park as the championship resumes after a coronavirus-enforced hiatus.

Red Bull driver van Gisbergen finished behind Ford star Anton De Pasquale in the first Supercars race in more than three months on Saturday afternoon.

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Despite holding a near-unassailable championship lead, Van Gisbergen was nevertheless frustrated by a track surface he considered to be a 'cheese grater' on the tyres.

The right rear tyres of much of the field showed signs of heavy wear after the first stint, with Van Gisbergen showing some concerns about races to be held later in the round under warmer conditions.

The first race back after the lengthy hiatus was run at night under lights at Eastern Creek.

The New Zealander after the race was in no two minds about the potential for a serious tyre failure when this weekend's event wraps up with two more races in hotter daylight conditions on Sunday.

"This track is just terrible, it's like a cheese grater, and it's the best it's going to be tonight," Van Gisbergen told Fox Sports after Saturday's night race.

"Tomorrow's going to be tough, managing the tyres ... the surface here is just average."

Van Gisbergen's comments will be a concern for Supercars given the track is hosting four consecutive weekends of racing over the next month.

The most pressing issue for Van Gisbergen however is reeling in Ford star Anton De Pasquale, who stormed to a dominant victory in Saturday's race and has topped every session so far across the weekend.

"The car feels good. We're just not fast enough," he said.

"We need to try some things ... we just need to work harder and put it together.

"That team is doing a great job so need to try and catch them."

Shane Van Gisbergen hits back in second race of Supercars weekend

Van Gisbergen showed few signs of the troubles that kept him from reeling in De Pasquale in race one when the lights went out in race two.

Despite securing pole position, De Pasquale bogged his car down at the start, falling back to seventh.

Van Gisbergen began the 32-lap race at Sydney Motorsport Park behind both Shell V-Power drivers Anton De Pasquale and Will Davison.

Starting from sixth, van Gisbergen pounced to climb through the field and was trailing De Pasquale's teammate Davison by three seconds at the front of the pack nearing the half-way mark.

Just as Davison appeared to be cruising to a win, however, an electrical failure in his Mustang forced him to do a restart of his car's power system during the mandatory pit-stop.

Shane van Gisbergen was able to capitalise on an electrical issue for trailing rival Will Davison to claim victory in the second race of the weekend as Supercars return to action in Sydney. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
Shane van Gisbergen was able to capitalise on an electrical issue for trailing rival Will Davison to claim victory in the second race of the weekend as Supercars return to action in Sydney. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Van Gisbergen, who had been right on Davison's bumper as the pair went down pit lane, made the most of his chance to jump past the two-time Bathurst winner.

The Red Bull Ampol Racing star's pace was too hot for De Pasquale - who was running on significantly older tyres having pitted earlier in the race - who let van Gisbergen and Davison pass with under 10 laps remaining.

"We had a bit of luck obviously with whatever dramas they had but perfect pit-stop, Red Bull Ampol Racing boys, and got out in front," van Gisbergen told Fox Sports.

"We do have a big lead but it's not done yet. We have to make sure everyone knows we're here to win races and not just collect points ... I'm here to have a crack."

Frustrated Davison came home second with Holden's Nick Percat securing a third-place finish to continue his strong form in the first event for the championship since July due to the COVID-enforced hiatus.

With AAP

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