Shane van Gisbergen has become the first New Zealander to take the coveted Jason Richards Memorial Trophy after a solid second place finish in the final race at the ITM Auckland SuperSprint.
Despite finishing behind teammate Jamie Whincup in the fourth race, Van Gisbergen maintains his championship lead, now holding a 191 point advantage over the six-time Supercars champ.
Whincup and van Gisbergen clashed in the day’s first race after a clumsy passing attempt from the #88, though Whincup was the one who lost out with his teammate able to drive up to third.
He bounced back to claim the final win by 8.7 seconds, but was out of the running for the Jason Richards Trophy after finishing 25th earlier today.
Van Gisbergen becomes the fourth different winner in four years of the JR Trophy, which was presented by Richards’ former boss and close friend Kim Jones.
“That’s pretty special to win that trophy, I’m pretty stoked. Thanks to everyone out here … to finally win that as a Kiwi, thank you,” van Gisbergen said.
“I don’t get emotional very often so it is pretty special.”
Whincup took the honours last year, so knows just how it feels to hold up the revered trophy.
“Big congrats to Shane on winning the JR Trophy, most consistent over the weekend – I tried to makes amends for the last race,” Whincup said.
Another Kiwi stood on the podium for the final race, with Scott McLaughlin coming home ahead of Prodrive pair Chaz Mostert and Mark Winterbottom.
It was a tough start for David Reynolds who speared off track and damaged the front of his Erebus Commodore, while another New Zealander, Andre Heimgartner, had to retire with damage.
The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship heads to the finale, the Coates Hire Sydney 500, from December 2-4.