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Father on hand to watch Shane van Gisbergen’s Townsville success

Repco Supercars Championship leader Shane van Gisbergen had one special fan witnessing his successes trackside for the first time in two years, as father Robert watched his son win both legs of the Townsville 500.

The global pandemic has prevented van Gisbergen’s father from making the trip across to watch his son compete in the Repco Supercars Championship, of which he won last year and also included the Kiwi’s breakthrough Bathurst victory in 2020.

Van Gisbergen reunited with his father during his preparations for Repco Rally New Zealand where he won the Far North Rally a couple of weeks ago.

Robert’s motorsport background is in rallying and in fact the father-son duo completed a Holden promotional activity where they went head-to-head in a series of racing challenges.

In Townsville, the added support was welcomed by van Gisbergen as he extended his championship advantage.

“It’s awesome,” summarised the reigning champion.

“He’s always a good part of our team and always fun to have around at races, so I’ve missed having him at the track. Seeing him even last week was great being a year and a half, but to have a great result is really cool as well.”

After winning the opening 250km encounter in thrilling circumstances as he turned a 18s deficit into a 5s victory van Gisbergen was forced to defend from Anton De Pasquale. This led to contact on the final corner of the last lap, which pitched the Kiwi into a spin.

A post-race penalty was given to De Pasquale as van Gisbergen took race victory number 11 for the season.

In a surprise, Red Bull Ampol Racing Team’s representative on the podium was Robert providing an emotional moment for father and son on the Townsville podium.

“It has been really cool to have my dad here and it was a nice surprise to have him on the podium,” said van Gisbergen.

He also dedicated his victory to Triple Eight Race Engineering co-owner Tony Quinn, who was injured in a Porsche support race in Townsville and was taking care in hospital.

“That race was for Quinny,” he said

“He had a pretty tough accident yesterday and sorry to see his injuries. My thoughts are with him as was the race.”