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FOLLOW THE LEADER – TO NZ

With a 148 point lead, SVG is sittin’ pretty up the top of the Supercars leader board as we head into the Auckland SuperSprint in a week’s time.

With only two race meetings left in the 2016 season, this is the round that can make or break a championship lead, with Red Bull Racing Australia teammate JDub sitting in second place, hot on the drift king’s smoking trail.

Showing incredible pace at the GC600 last week, SVG and his enduro co-driver Alex Premat drove it like they stole it – right through to the finish line to claim the PIRTEK Enduro Cup.

“Obviously we always intend on delivering the best possible car for SVG, but that is what everyone is aiming to do,” said car #97 Engineer Grant “Shippy” McPherson.

“Our consistency has been our biggest strength, and car #97 has been in the top five of the points board at every race round, except for Symmons Plains, where we should have had two wins.”

Finally, after a whole heap of “not talking about it”, it is finally that time of the season when you put the enduros behind you and really focus on the championship.

“We’ve worked hard this year on developing a car that performs on both tyre compounds, and in both qualifying and race trim,” said Shippy.

“All we worry about is what we can control.  We can’t control the points table, and we can’t control how JDub and the car #88 crew will perform, so we will focus on extracting the maximum around Pukekohe Raceway.”

The 2.91km long circuit, seen as one of the fastest tracks in the southern hemisphere, has a chicane on the back straight and a tight hairpin, so drivers need to get the most out of their cars to see a podium finish.

“I really like the challenge of tuning the car to suit the Pukekohe track.  The hardest feature is probably the variety, some very high load and bumpy corners, a tight hairpin, kerb riding the first sector, fresh asphalt at the back chicane, there is lots going on.

“Heading into the Auckland SuperSprint round, I expect that we will be near the front, but with switching to hard tyres, we will see other teams step up.”

JDub currently holds the qualifying lap record at the track, clocking a 1:02.5597 back in 2013.

The Red Bull Racing Australia Team head to Pukekohe Raceway, November 4-6.