Wet weather wreaks havoc as van Gisbergen hits wall
A DAY after Scott McLaughlin ended up in the fence, fellow Supercars title-chaser Shane van Gisbergen also sent his Commodore into the tyre wall as wet weather descended on the weekend's meet at Pukekohe Park.
The pair are the only two drivers with a realistic championship shot and both lost concentration in practice in New Zealand.
McLaughlin lost control and locked up into turn two on a sunny day on Friday, while van Gisbergen slipped off at turn four on Saturday morning while contending with a slippery surface.
The Red Bull HRT driver was able to return to the track after a low speed bump into the tyres.
Wet weather specialists sat on top of the timing charts on Saturday, with Chaz Mostert fastest with a 1:10.3494 lap ahead of Nick Percat and Michael Caruso.
"The car seemed to be pretty responsive in the wet … it feels good under me, it's all positive signs," Mostert said.
The rain is expected to linger through Saturday, with qualifying at 11.40am and a race at 2.10pm (both AEDT).
Van Gisbergen spent plenty of time near the top of the charts before settling for eighth in the wet.
McLaughlin's repaired Falcon finished up 15th.
"I'm actually feeling pretty fast, it's just a matter of getting it all together," McLaughlin said.
The DJR Team Penske driver leads his countryman by just 14 points, with third- placed Jamie Whincup more than 400 points off the pace.
Just 600 points are left to fight for at Pukekohe and the season-ending meet in Newcastle.
"I'm comfortable and calm and just excited to get going," McLaughlin said. "We've got a good couple of tracks ahead of us.
"A track that we like here and then Newcastle where we were pretty fast last year. To be ahead at the moment is a good thingbut we need to make sure we keep building on that."
Van Gisbergen said he had oodles of respect for his countryman, who was pipped to last year's title by Whincup, but their friendship would be suspended over the season's final month.
"It's hard to be friends because the Supercars championship is my dream. That's my life and what I dedicate everything to," he said.
"He is trying to take it away from me. It's his dream as well.
"We'll race really hard and clean on track. I'm looking forwardto the battle but I want to win it."