Greg Murphy confident Van Gisbergen will win V8 Supercars title

ITM Auckland SuperSprint this weekend

New Zealand's most successful Supercars driver, Greg Murphy believes Shane van Gisbergen will hold on and become the first Kiwi to claim the title for the first time in 25 years.

Aucklander van Gisbergen goes into this week's Auckland SuperSprint event at Pukekohe Park with a commanding advantage in the championship race.         

He leads Red Bull Racing Holden team-mate Jamie Whincup by 148 points, with a maximum 600 points available at the final two stops in Auckland and Sydney.         

The last Kiwi to win the championship - then the Australian Touring Car Championship - was Jim Richards in 1991.             

He and Robbie Francevic (1986) are the only New Zealanders to have won the title, and none have achieved it since it became known as V8 Supercars in 1997.               

That includes Murphy, who won four Bathurst titles and was runner-up twice and fourth on three occasions in the championship. 

"It was probably the only thing that eluded me in V8 Supercars," said Murphy who finished behind five-time winner Mark Scaife in 2002 and two-time champion Marcos Ambrose in 2003.              

"It is one thing to win a single race, but another to be consistent throughout the season. Giz has been that this year and the championship is right there for him to grab.        

"He has been such a talented young driver for the last few years at Stone Brothers and Tekno but this year he has gone to another level." 

Murphy says van Gisbergen only needs four clean races at Pukekohe and two in Sydney to clinch the title.         

However, he suspects the 27-year-old will stay true to form and push for wins.

"It would great for motorsport in New Zealand and to do it at Pukekohe would be pretty special." 

The ITM Auckland SuperSprint kicks off on Friday, with gates opening at 8am each day.          

- NZN 

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