Shane van Gisbergen won the inaugural Battle of Jacks Ridge in 2020.
Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen has been in talks to race at this year’s WRC Rally NZ event around Auckland in September.
The 32-year-old Kiwi has always been keen to race in an array of cars and categories, but Covid-19 has limited his opportunities in recent years.
But Stuff understands there have been negotiations between van Gisbergen and Rally NZ organizers about getting him into a rally car later this year.
Four-time Bathurst winner Greg Murphy said he’d also heard about van Gisbergen being involved.
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“I don’t know details and I don’t think it’s been official, but I’m sure it will happen,” Murphy said.
Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images
Shane van Gisbergen is on track to win his third Supercars title.
“If he hasn’t already surprised everyone, he’ll be a surprise,” Murphy added, about how well Van Gisbergen could go in Rally NZ.
“Obviously, there is a bit of work to do by someone, to organize a car for him to drive.
“But whatever it is, he’ll be entertaining and I’m sure will compete at a much higher level than some people think.”
Van Gisbergen is no stranger to a rally car, in November 2020 in a Team Ralliart prepared Mitsubishi Mirage AP4, he won the Battle of Jacks Ridge, which will be one of the feature stages at this year’s Rally NZ.
Shane van Gisbergen laying down some rubber at the start of the Paekakariki Hill Rd stage of the 2009 Targa Rally.
The day prior he won the Classic class in the City of Auckland Rally and was 15th overall in his father’s Ford Escort RS1800.
This weekend Van Gisbergen is competing in the opening round of the Australian Rally Car championship around Canberra, where he is driving a Red Bull-liveried Skoda Fabia R5.
His father, Robert, competed in rallies in New Zealand throughout the 1980s and 1990s, so it’s always been something close to his heart, even though he went a different route with his own motorsport career.
The dates work out for van Gisbergen to compete in the rally. The Auckland round of the Supercars series is in Pukekohe September 10-11, Rally NZ is September 29-October 2 and the Bathurst 1000 is October 6-9.
Having Van Gisbergen compete in the rally, which will be a WRC event for the first time since 2012, will be huge for local interest in the event.
As well as having the best rally drivers in the world, like Sebastien Ogier, Elfyn Evans, Ott Tänak on New Zealand roads, seeing high profile Kiwis Hayden Paddon and van Gisbergen also compete, will give the event plenty of exposure in New Zealand and be an added thrill for the country’s motorsport fans.