Supercars star Shane Van Gisbergen hopes his hometown track in New Zealand on Sunday can avoid a repeat of the wet weather drama which forced Saturday’s qualifying session to be abandoned.
The back straight at Pukekohe Park Raceway was essentially undriveable for the Supercars field after persistent rain on Saturday morning, forcing qualifying to be called off with less than two minutes of the 20-minute session completed.
The wet weather threatened to cause a delay or even a cancellation of Saturday’s 70-lap race, but a break in the weather in the afternoon allowed the event to continue as scheduled.
Van Gisbergen went on to claim victory in the race, much to the delight of local fans.
The Pukekohe track has undergone extensive recent resurfacing and Van Gisbergen believes the troublesome back straight is simply too new to handle Supercars safely in the wet.
“The back straight, there’s something crazy about it,” the Red Bull Holden Racing Team star said.
“I think it’s too fresh – they did it too recently. There’s so much oil on the surface; when we did our track walk, you were sliding with your shoes on.”
The defending Supercars champion says the situation should be fine unless similar rain lashes the track as it did for most of Saturday.
“I don’t know if there’s any solution for tomorrow,” he said.
“They made the right call in qualifying … I think there’s a little bit of rain forecast for tomorrow but, hopefully, it’s not too much and we can have a safe qualifying and a safe race.”
Ford driver Mark Winterbottom, who finished second in Saturday’s race, labelled the track condition as the worst he’d driven on and praised the decision to abandon the qualifying session.
“People who’ve paid money want to watch sessions and that back straight was horrendous,” Winterbottom said.
“I think that was a big call, a brave move and we put on a good show in the afternoon.”