HAD the power steering just properly broken on the No. 97 Holden, Shane van Gisbergen says his Race 9 would’ve been a lot easier.
Instead, the 2016 Supercars champion had to deal with power steering that was cutting in and out throughout the race.
“I’m stuffed! And I’ve got to back it up tomorrow! But the power steering will be fixed, we’ll be right,” van Gisbergen told FOX SPORTS.
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“Right from the start, second corner I felt it.
“It just wouldn’t bloody fail completely. I’d be all locked up into a corner and then it would just keep going in and out, which was the hard part.
“If it failed (completely) then it would’ve been a lot easier.”
The extra strain on SVG was clear from the on-board camera shots through the race.
It captured him stretching and relaxing his hands and arms down Phillip Island’s 280km/h front straight, and showed him using both hands on the left side of the wheel to wrench it around for the tight MG hairpin.
His Triple Eight team considered replacing the wheel for a larger-diameter version at the pit stops in order to give him more leverage, but SVG waved it off, preferring to stick with the rhythm he’d built up.
Despite dealing with the uncertain and heavy steering, he still sat in fourth place and was closing in on Rick Kelly for the final podium position.
“I would’ve been able to have a go at Rick, but if I went up the inside and had a moment I wouldn’t have known what was going on with the steering,” he said.
“I let Craig (Lowndes) through (but he) couldn’t get through on Rick so they gave the spot back, which was what we agreed on.”
It’s the second time in as many races that a mechanical issue has hampered van Gisbergen in a race, after a loose locknut in the pedal assembly left him with a throttle that was sticking open and dodgy brake bias at Symmons Plains a fortnight ago. Prior to that, car issues in qualifying at Albert Park left him to start from lowly positions in the final two races.
After leading the championship in Adelaide, van Gisbergen has slipped to fourth in the standings, 59 points behind new leader and Race 9 winner Scott McLaughlin.
“It’s a shame, we’ve had a few issues this year on our car but still getting good points,” he said.
“If we tidied it up we’d be fighting for the wins. It’s a tough one.”