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'Weird' wheel compromise aided van Gisbergen's Sandown win

Shane van Gisbergen says a "weird" steering wheel position helped him take one of the greatest ever Supercars wins while nursing a broken collarbone at Sandown.

Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering

Edge Photographics

The Kiwi's season was under threat of being derailed when he crashed his mountain bike and broke his collarbone less than a fortnight ago.

He went into surgery immediately and has since been undergoing hyperbaric treatment to prepare for this weekend's Sandown SuperSprint.

It was only after practice this morning that it became a certainty the 2016 champion would race, only for van Gisbergen to expose himself to additional risk of a painful crash by qualifying down in 17th.

However the Red Bull Holden driver ended a remarkable day with one of the best drives in Supercars history as he charged through to win the 36-lap race with a final lap pass on Cam Waters.

Explaining how he got through the day, van Gisbergen said the key change was moving the steering wheel lower and bringing it closer to his body.

He also sampled less resistance on the gearshift and a button handbrake during practice, but abandoned both before the race.

"It was just the wheel," he said.

"We started with the gearshift [resistance] lower, but the strength isn't too bad, it's just the movement - lifting my arm and stuff. So I had to lower the wheel and bring it a lot closer.

Race winner Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering

Race winner Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering

Photo by: Edge Photographics

"It feels a bit weird, but once I was out there I got used to it.

"And then I went to a button handbrake on the wheel, but I couldn't get good starts so I went back to my normal handbrake. It was hard to get enough pressure at the start.

"Maybe it's the adrenaline, but [the pain is] not distracting me at all. It felt good."

He also revealed a change of medication this week made a big difference to his mental state.

"Last week was super tough," he said. "I was weird drugs that make you think weird things. I'm on some [different] stuff this week that's much better. Drugs are no good, I don't see the appeal to them."

Van Gisbergen, who was the last driver in the field to make his pitstop with 11 laps to go, said the critical moment in the race was his ballsy pass on both Jamie Whincup and Chaz Mostert on the second-last lap.

He explained that he had a "terrible" outlap with a lot of understeer before "it came good" three laps in.

"I saw Chaz was struggling and I hoped he would back everyone up, and he did," he added.

"It was a bit of a risky move at Turn 2, but that's probably what won the race.

"It's probably not smart to make it three-wide, but being on the inside is the safest place and it worked quite well."

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