Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen has mowed down the Supercars field for a third podium finish to reduce his championship deficit at Melbourne.

After qualifying just 11th for the fifth race of the season, the two-time defending champion worked his way through the traffic to finish second behind polesitter Brodie Kostecki, who added to his maiden victory the previous night.

Van Gisbergen crossed the finish-line first in the opening three races of the year, but was stripped of his points in the first, after rivals complained he had used dry ice in the cooling system of the new Gen3 car.

Languishing back in 11th at the start of the Melbourne Supersprint - 126 points behind - he now sits third, just 83 points behind Chaz Mostert, who leads by just one from Kostecki.

Van Gisbergen finished fourth, but benefited from a late pitstop incident that saw Will Davison and Bryce Fullwood - who finished second and third - both penalised for an unsafe release, and relegated to 11th and 12th.

Trying to beat Fullwood back onto the track, Davison clipped a tyre belonging to van Gisbergen's Red Bull team and sent it bouncing across pitlane, miraculously not hitting anybody.  

After a win and third on Friday, the Kiwi also picked up five bonus points for recording the fastest lap time of his latest outing.

"I really need to score every point I can now and if we’re doing that, the guy leading was behind us, so that’s good," he said after finishing third. "We've just got to keep scoring points and clawing back what got taken off us."

The Melbourne Supersprint programme - part of the Australia F1 Grand Prix stopover - will conclude with the sixth race of the Supercars season, with van Gisbergen qualifying in 12th on the grid.

2023-04-01T09:08:46Z dg43tfdfdgfd