Van Gisbergen seeks Townsville V8 throne

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Supercars championship leader Shane van Gisbergen has downplayed the notion of becoming Triple Eight Engineering's new king of the north, as he seeks to cement his own legacy at the NTI Townsville 500.

The New Zealander says his focus is on a race-by-race basis ahead of the first leg at Townsville, and won't be seeking to emulate the accolades of teammate Jamie Whincup.

Whincup, who trails van Gisbergen by 221 points on the ladder, won twice at the Townsville double header in 2020 and is a record 12-time winner at the event.

But when asked if two successful weekends in Queensland's north could put the rest of the competition away, van Gisbergen said he didn't look further than the next race.

"I don't know, I don't think about that. Every round, just one round at a time and score as many points as possible," he said.

"Sunday is projected to be hot, so it's going to be a long slog especially backing up Saturday.

"So you can't cruise, you've got to be flat out every lap, attack the curbs every lap and it's hard on the cars and hard on the bodies."

Having won eight of 14 races in 2021, van Gisbergen finished fastest in practice two on Friday, clocking the day's best time of 1:12.381.

After David Reynolds was fastest through practice one, Van Gisbergen made the most of warmer conditions to set the pace heading into Saturday's qualifying.

He'll first have to navigate two races in the endurance test of the Townsville 500, before backing it up at the SuperSprint next weekend.

But the 32-year-old shrugged off the importance of qualifying positions at Reid Park when asked, and claimed he could win from anywhere on the grid.

"Not really," he said of qualifying's importance.

"I think I started 14th on the grid last year.

"This afternoon was good - this morning my car wasn't very good at all, we tried some things and they still didn't work.

"That's the beauty of these events, you can try some stuff and be methodical, get the right thought process and take your time with it."

"Certainly racing here you've got to think about tyre wear ... so hopefully that makes for some good racing tomorrow."

Practice two top four:

1. Shane van Gisbergen (Red Bull Ampol Racing) : 1:12.381

2. Will Davison (Shell V-Power Racing) +.122

3. Cameron Waters (Monster Energy Racing) + .134

4. Jack Le Brocq (Truck Assist Racing) +.162.

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