SHANE van Gisbergen enters this weekend’s Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight with a real chance of clinching the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship.
The 32-year-old holds a 337-point lead over Red Bull Ampol Racing teammate Jamie Whincup with 10 of the 12 rounds completed.
Dick Johnson Racing’s Will Davison and Walkinshaw Andretti United’s Chaz Mostert remain in mathematical contention at 529 and 595 points behind van Gisbergen respectively.
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There are 300 points available this weekend (150 to the winner of each of the two 250km races) and a further 300 to be awarded at the Repco Bathurst 1000 on December 5.
Van Gisbergen therefore needs a 300-point margin at the end of this weekend in order to secure the title before going to Bathurst (barring any points penalties).
The Kiwi has the most race wins for the season (13 compared to two for Whincup, two for Mostert and none for Davison) and would therefore win any tied countback scenario.
Van Gisbergen will retain that magic 300-point buffer if he does not drop more than 37 points to Whincup, 229 points to Davison and 295 points to Mostert across Sydney’s two races.
What does 37 points look like in results-terms?
Well, if van Gisbergen scored a second and a third in the two races, he’d secure the title regardless of where his rivals finish.
There is of course a whole heap of other possible permutations, and van Gisbergen can even seal the crown as early as Saturday if he can grow his lead to 450 points after that race.
If van Gisbergen wins Saturday’s 250km contest, Whincup must finish at least 22nd to keep the title mathematically alive into Sunday, while Davison and Mostert would be eliminated regardless of their results.
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So, how likely is it that van Gisbergen will secure the title in Sydney?
Van Gisbergen is yet to drop more than 37 points to Whincup at any of this year’s 10 rounds to date.
Whincup has outscored van Gisbergen at just two rounds all season; by 11 points at Symmons Plains and by one point at the Armor All Sydney SuperNight (SMP2, where SVG copped a pit lane penalty in the final race).
Van Gisbergen is currently gunning for his second Supercars title, having previously tasted success during his inaugural season with Triple Eight in 2016.
Whincup’s seventh crown in 2017 is the only time during the duo’s five completed seasons as teammates that he has outscored van Gisbergen in the championship.
Their combined efforts in 2021 mean the Teams Championship is almost certain to be decided this weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Red Bull Ampol Racing leads Shell V-Power Racing by 915 points with 1,152 points still available across this weekend’s Sydney event and the Bathurst 1000.
This year is the second in succession that the Bathurst 1000 has closed the season, but 2020 was devoid of a drivers’ title fight as Scott McLaughlin wrapped up the crown at the penultimate event at The Bend.