Van Gisbergen Closes Gap on McLaughlin in Bend SuperSprint

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A new track but a familiar outcome would seemingly sum up the inaugural Supercars race at The Bend.

Shane van Gisbergen was the winner, leading for almost the entirety of the 22nd race of the OTR SuperSprint.

Van Gisbergen took just five laps to get past the pole sitter, Jamie Whincup and from that point, all anyone else driving in the race had was a view of van Gisbergen’s taillights.

He wound up winning by seven seconds, but that margin was not present for much of the race, as Rick Kelly of Nissan, along with Michael Caruso, kept on van Gisbergen for most of the race.

“Rick put a lot of pressure on and it was really good, but it was about staying on the track,” van Gisbergen said.“It was really hard, there was one line; just had to behave!As soon as you get out of the groove you just slide.”

Many of the other racing codes present similar situations, where there is a narrow margin for error outside of one groove where cars behave as expected.

Van Gisbergen is now within 41 points of series leader Scott McLaughlin. The reigning champ, Jamie Whincup, sits securely in third, but it is a distant third, to say the least, as he trails McLaughlin by 415 points.

In summation, it is not nearly so close as it was last year, when going into the final races; there were any number of scenarios that could determine the champion.

There are five events remaining in the 2018 Supercars competition.

The next is not until the middle of September, when the Sandown 500 will give van Gisbergen his next chance to chase down McLaughlin.

It appears to be a two-driver competition this year and Supercars fans can only hope that both McLaughlin and van Gisbergen experience the sort of fortune to make the final two races in November compelling and not just some perfunctory processional.

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