FOR someone who just chalked up their umpteenth victory this year, Shane van Gisbergen’s Sunday celebration at the Gold Coast 500 was perhaps more exuberant than expected.
In fact, it was van Gisbergen’s 21st race win of the season and came a day after he sealed his third championship.
But it was what went on at the opening corner of the 85-lap race which heightened the emotion for van Gisbergen.
He and fellow front-row starter Will Davison went side-by-side on the run through the first chicane, the latter emerging ahead after cutting the chicane.
Race control deemed the move acceptable, allowing the #17 Shell V-Power Racing Mustang to keep the lead.
That ruling left van Gisbergen animated, and once the race restarted from a red flag stoppage, he aggressively set about taking the matter into his own hands, relentlessly attacking Davison until grabbing the ascendancy on Lap 11.
From that moment, there was no stopping van Gisbergen, who cruised to a fifth straight win (and 12th from the last 14 races).
The 33-year-old celebrated by jumping on the roof of his #97 Red Bull Ampol Racing Commodore.
“I was flipping angry at that red flag, how they let him keep the lead at that first chicane,” van Gisbergen explained of his emotion.
“After that restart I was going through him or around him and I went around him which was good and then just drove away.
“My car was magic and it’s just a relief to do it like that and do it properly.”
Elaborating on the squabble, van Gisbergen added: “From my view in the car it felt like he got off the brake but maybe he got a hit from behind, I’m not sure.
“But he got a really good start and we were side-by-side and I had room to give him room to go around but when I saw he took the straight I took the apex.
“Then he just came out way in front instead of side-by-side.
“It is what it is, we have this argument every year, I can’t fix it, I just know I fixed it after the restart.”
For his part, Davison set the record straight.
“I definitely didn’t get off the brake,” said the eventual third-place finisher.
“I got a better start, went pretty deep, was ahead on turn-in so I thought we would just try to sneak around the outside there and then I felt a little hit in the door on the side so you’re just heading towards a huge sausage kerb which breaks your car.
“So obviously at the last second I got bumped into there so I just steered right and just thought I would wait and see what was said.
“I thought I was in front on entry, it wasn’t a big deal, but I was just avoiding going across and damaging my car basically.”
With Anton De Pasquale disqualified post-race, Davison reclaimed the mantle of lead Shell V-Power Racing driver in the championship ahead of the Adelaide season finale.