Ford hero Mark Winterbottom has labelled today 'perfect' after ending a near year-long Championship victory drought in supreme fashion, taking an ARMOR ALL Pole Position and both race wins today at the UBET Perth SuperSprint.
After stating earlier in the season the new for 2015 Ford Falcon FG X had provided him renewed motivation after a heartbreaking second-half season slump in 2014, Winterbottom declared his confidence had returned and he was ready to fight for the Championship.
"It's a massive confidence boost for me... this weekend has started with the perfect day," Winterbottom said.
The Pepsi Max Crew star's success was backed up by his teammate Chaz Mostert, who took a pole position and finished second behind Winterbottom
"It was an awesome day for the team. Although we got the Grand Prix [wins] and Eastern Creek [SuperPole], it's been about 12 or 14 months, which is a long time so it was good to get a pole for Chaz and a pole for me and some wins."
In an ominous sign for his rivals, he also stated his belief in himself, his car and his crew has been strengthened since their first successes with the FG X at the non-Championship Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix.
"You've always got to back yourself, and believe that you can do it, but it's really good for Jase [Jason Gray] - my new engineer, he's now got confidence in what he's doing as well."
After taking his first pole position in nearly 18 months, Winterbottom beat his teammate and pole-sitter Chaz Mostert off the line in race seven and controlled the race across 25 laps, to win by half a second.
In the second 60km fixture of the day, he lined up alongside arch-rival, Red Bull Racing Australia's Jamie Whincup.
Winterbottom again got the best run in the drag race to the first corner, and was able to open up an immediate advantage which he was able to maintain for the length of the race.
"It was obviously a really good day," said Winterbottom. "Race one was tough, but it was good to get the win."
"It's nice when you have those races because they don't always go as smooth as that one. I got off the line well and just managed it from there."
His excitement was tempered by the knowledge that tomorrow's 200km race will be a battle between drivers, and teams, with strategy and smarts coming to the fore as the soft tyre comes into play.
"Tomorrow will be hard, no doubt," Winterbottom said.
"The soft tyre is going to be quicker, but it will also drop off quicker. You're also up against a hard that's used as well.
"The soft tyre will probably last 30 laps or so, and then it will be cactus. Today was 25 [laps], and the tyres were hurting, so throw in five more laps on each stint, and it's going to be all over.
"Everyone has the same tyre, and everyone is in the same boat. Tomorrow is going to be about the smartest guy, and using it at the right time."
Jamie Whincup finished the day in second place, but labelled his day 'ordinary'.
"It's not our proudest day at the race track," said the six-time defending Champion.
"We pretty much had one good lap to show for the day and the rest was pretty ordinary. We've got some work to do."
Winterbottom has launched from sixth to first in the Championship, leading Whincup by one point.
The UBET Perth SuperSprint continues tomorrow, with practice, qualifying and a 200km race in the afternoon.