Red Bull Racing Australia driver Shane van Gisbergen.
Red Bull Racing Australia driver Shane van Gisbergen.

It's game on with teammate Whincup, admits van Gisbergen

SUPERCARS championship leader Shane van Gisbergen knows he's in a title fight with teammate Jamie Whincup but is promising not to change his driving style ahead of the Auckland SuperSprint at Pukekohe this week.

The Kiwi has a 148-point lead in the championship over his Red Bull Racing teammate and has an outside chance of securing the title on home soil if Whincup was to have a bad weekend.

But despite finding himself in a strong position with just two rounds remaining, the 27-year-old van Gisbergen says he can't afford to back off now.

"I don't think we can change our approach,” he told APNZ. "We just have to keep scoring points.

"It is too close to back off. We have got to keep up front and keep banking points.”

It became clear fairly early on that the two Holden drivers would have to fight each other to become champion but van Gisbergen says they worked together for much of the season to improve their car speed - something that has set them apart from their rivals in the back half of the year.

But now it has become a two-horse race, van Gisbergen says he will focus on beating Whincup.

"I can't avoid it now. We are in the running. It is a pretty good spot to be in. We have had a very good year and great results.

"He is going to be there. He won't give up, he will be attacking so we just have to do the best job we can do and fight against him.”

The Aucklander has never found the media spotlight comfortable but with the success this year that scrutiny has amplified. On the outside he appears calm and measured, and he says his philosophy with dealing with the pressure is simple.

"My engineer has a good saying - just control what you can control,” he said.

With a format that involves two shorter races on both Saturday and Sunday, van Gisbergen can minimise the risk of a bad result with four bites at the cherry.

If he can leave Pukekohe with a lead of about 150 points in the championship he would only need to safely bring the car home in the two final races of the year in Sydney to become the first Kiwi champion since Jim Richards in 1991.

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