THERE is every chance Shane van Gisbergen will join an exclusive club of Supercars legends before the day is out.
The task for van Gisbergen to mathematically seal his third championship (excluding the possibility of any points penalties) is straightforward.
All the Kiwi must do is finish one of the season’s remaining four races in at least 24th position.
Effectively that should mean if he makes the chequered flag with enough laps under his belt to be classified this afternoon – in what is Triple Eight Race Engineering’s 600th championship race – the 2022 title will be his.
Given the attrition rate associated with the Gold Coast, it would seem unlikely that all 25 cars will make it to the end of the 85-lapper.
Such is van Gisbergen’s stranglehold that he could actually still be crowned champion today even if he DNFs.
In that scenario, last man standing Cameron Waters would need to finish fourth or better to remain a mathematical chance.
Either way, it’s only a matter of time before ‘SVG’ becomes the 11th driver to win at least three ATCC/Supercars drivers’ championship.
His company will be: Jamie Whincup, Ian Geoghegan, Dick Johnson, Mark Skaife, Bob Jane, Allan Moffat, Jim Richards, Peter Brock, Craig Lowndes and Scott McLaughlin.
What is also a distinct possibility is van Gisbergen breaking Mark Skaife’s 20-year record for the biggest championship-winning margin in history.
That 2002 season, Skaife finished 658 points clear of runner-up Greg Murphy; van Gisbergen’s advantage currently stands at 567 points and other than Waters, no driver is within 750-plus points.
Meanwhile, there’s a different sort of task on the other side of the Red Bull Ampol Racing garage this weekend as rookie Broc Feeney gets to grips with his home track.
Feeney is the only driver in the field to have never raced a Supercar at the Gold Coast prior to yesterday.
It was a slow and steady start to proceedings for the #88 driver, who turned 20 less than a fortnight ago.
“It’s pretty wild around this track. You certainly get pretty close to the walls around here which gets your mind thinking overtime,” Feeney said at the close of play yesterday.
“We got through our plan and are building up through the chicane sections which is where our deficit is.
“We made a big gain in the second practice session but unfortunately we didn’t quite put a good lap together.
“Overall, I’m confident we can keep finding those improvements for tomorrow.
“There’s been plenty of times this year where we’ve been on the back foot in the practice sessions but we’ve managed to come back strong for the qualifying sessions.
“You really have to push the limits around here to get a good lap time. Especially at the chicanes, you really have to hit those tyre bundles and almost scrape those walls to go fast – that’s where I’ve been losing most of my time.
“It’s such a cool, crazy track and I’m looking forward to more of it.”