'The Giz' defended in spat with fellow Kiwi driver

DAVID LONG
Last updated 10:00 25/05/2014

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Mark Winterbottom has leapt to the defence of Shane van Gisbergen after he was called an arsehole by fellow New Zealand V8 Supercars driver Scott McLaughlin.

The two Kiwis drivers clashed in last Sunday's race in Perth, and van Gisbergen gave McLaughlin the bird as they raced down the straight.

Afterwards McLaughlin labelled van Gisbergen an arsehole and said he always felt there was a code among New Zealand drivers in the series not to take each other out.

Sunday News tried to speak to van Gisbergen last week, but he made himself unavailable. However, the current championship leader has weighed into the debate and said McLaughlin shouldn't expect favours from van Gisbergen.

"I read that Scott said they have this Kiwi 'bromanship' which works and they're meant to let each other past and all that sort of stuff, which I find pretty bizarre.

"You shouldn't move over for anyone, unless your team-mate is the guy you're racing with.

"He's got to earn his way past him, he has to earn it. And ‘Gis' is probably one of the hardest blokes to race.

"But because they're from the same country doesn't mean they should let each other past!

"I'm sure they'll shake and make up."

McLaughlin's Valvoline GRM boss Garry Rogers echoed Winterbottom's views that no one should expect any favours in a race.

"(McLaughlin) mentioned some issue with Shane, he'd held him up when he was attempting to pass - I don't know, I didn't see it and my view is you just do your best to get past, get on with it, get ready for the next one."

All eyes will be on McLauglin and van Gisbergen if they get close to each other at the next round of the series, in Darwin, starting June 20.

"I think that you'd have to say there's a rivalry there now that probably goes back to New Zealand days and what have you," Rogers said.

"And that's not a bad thing. My view is rivalry is very good . . . There's been lots of rivalries and my view is there's not enough rivalry in our business.

"We really need to give it the very best.

If your emotions run high every now and again, so be it! Deal with it . . . I often make a statement there's only one thing more emotional than romance - sport."

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