Supercars championship leader Shane van Gisbergen is driving through the pain barrier at the Sandown Supersprint.

The Red Bull Ampol star underwent surgery on a broken collarbone on March 6 but is appearing at the Melbourne circuit to protect his early championship lead.

Van Gisbergen was hurting considerably during Saturday’s two practice sessions but said he had no intention of withdrawing from the event.

“It’s painful, but I can get around,” he said after the first practice.

“It’s as I hoped, so I can drive and I’m not thinking about the pain. It’s hurting the ribs a bit but I’m driving with a clear head.”

Van Gisbergen shot out to an early championship lead after his back-to-back wins at the season-opening event at Bathurst last month.

His Triple Eight teammate, Jamie Whincup, took out the opening practice session at Sandown before Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters produced a superb drive to finish fastest in practice two.

Qualifying for Saturday’s first race begins at 1.45 pm (AEDT) while the 36-lap affair gets underway 4.45 pm.

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