Wednesday | 13 Apr 2022

Circuit star van Gisbergen eyes New Zealand drive

Kiwi race star Shane van Gisbergen is targeting an FIA World Rally Championship debut at this year’s Repco Rally New Zealand.

The two-time Australian Supercars champion finished second at the Australian Rally Championship’s National Capital Rally in Canberra earlier this month driving a Škoda Fabia Rally2.

Now the circuit racer is working towards an appearance at the WRC’s 11th round in Auckland, which returns to the series on 29 September - 2 October for the first time since 2012.

The 32-year-old is no stranger to rallying in New Zealand, having already competed on the City of Auckland Rally in 2020, where he guided a Ford Escort Mk2 to 15th. Now though, he’s ready to make the jump to the sport’s highest level in a Rally2 car.

“Rally New Zealand is my goal,” said van Gisbergen. “I’m working on it. Having New Zealand back on the calendar is great news, but everybody wants to do it – so getting a car’s not easy.”

Auckland waterfront confirmed as New Zealand hub

Auckland waterfront confirmed as ...

Auckland’s stunning waterfront will be the heart of Repco Rally New Zealand (29 September - 2 October) when the event returns ...

Read More

Driving for Triple Eight in Supercars, van Gisbergen would have to be careful which car he could use in New Zealand, with the Škoda a likely preferred option. Prior to his home world championship event, he wants more match practice.

“It would be good to get out and do a couple more rallies,” he said. “That would help to get used to the pace notes and things like that. I want to keep learning, rallying is a lot of fun – but it takes a lot of work with the co-driver on the recce.

“The dream is to get to Rally New Zealand, but there’s some work to do yet.”

Van Gisbergen was bested only by former Australian champion Harry Bates in Canberra, having never been outside the top three. He was fastest on the final two stages of the two-day gravel road fixture covering almost 185km.

More news