After just two rounds of the 2021 season, history suggests Shane van Gisbergen has already wrapped up this year’s championship.
The Red Bull Ampol ace is undefeated this season after adding a Sandown trifecta to his clean-sweep at Bathurst.
Van Gisbergen’s perfect start to the campaign has given him a 155-point lead in the championship standings and put him in elite company.
The Holden star became the first driver since Mark Skaife in 1994 to win the opening five races of a Supercars season.
He is the fourth driver to have won at least the first races of a season, with Allan Moffat (1977) and Peter Brock (1980), the others.
Skaife and Moffat, who both won the first six races, and Brock all went onto claim the title.
It is remarkable hot-streak for the reigning Bathurst 1000 winner, who has become the man to beat after three-time defending champion Scott McLaughlin’s departure to IndyCar.
His effort at the Sandown Supersprint was one for the ages, dominating the field despite having surgery on a broken collarbone two weeks ago.
Van Gisbergen was touch-and-go to even drive after injuring himself in a mountain biking accident earlier this month, but his victory on Saturday – after qualifying 17th – created an air of invincibility.
“It’s pretty special and something that no one thought was going to happen, including myself,” he said.
“I’ve had some awesome help (in recovering from the injury). I’ve been pretty methodical with it and done everything I could to get better.”
Van Gisbergen revealed he sought advice from motocross legend Chad Reed and dual Dakar champion Toby Price about how to recover from serious injuries.
“Those guys are nuts, they go through it all the time,” Van Gisbergen said.
“Chad’s got a hyperbaric chamber at his home, that’s how hardcore those guys are.”