Drivers impress team boss

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 06/07/2014
  • By V8 Supercars

Ford Performance Racing boss Tim Edwards was excited about his team's results last night, despite recording fifth and ninth in the second race and not continuing its strong podium run.

Both Mark Winterbottom - who continues lead the Championship - and Chaz Mostert have scored race wins and podium finishes this season, but the ability to carve through the field and keep their heads under pressure at the Castrol Townsville 500 - Driven by TAFE Queensland pleased Edwards.

"Absolutely fantastic drive from Chaz, and Frosty too," Edwards told v8supercars.com.au.

"To drive from 19th up to the bumper of (Jamie) Whincup and (Craig) Lowndes, who are his two closest challengers in the Championship, and they were less than a second in front of him ... great drive from him, great job from the team.

"It's not very often you get excited about fifth and ninth, but we're pretty excited because they both drove so well in that race."

The rivalry between the two front running Ford and Holden teams continues to heat up, with Red Bull boss Roland Dane calling Mostert an idiot after a clash with Lowndes at the last event in Darwin.

But the young gun held off the master in the closing stages - and while Mostert said it was the most pressure he had felt driving in his V8 Supercars career, Edwards couldn't have been more proud.

"He had Craig Lowndes - one of the most experienced drivers in the sport, and one of the toughest drivers in the sport - right on his bumper and applying a huge amount of pressure, and he dealt with that. To the point that he saw Craig coming that time he ... braked a bit early and ducked it down the inside.

"That's pretty impressive for what someone else in pitlane thinks is an idiot.

"At the end of the day, 99.9 per cent of the public actually think he (Dane) is an idiot for saying it."

While Winterbottom also managed to latch onto that group behind Whincup, Edwards acknowledged his tyres had gone and there was nothing left to pass with.

"He just had to sit back and watch the view of the three cars in front of him having a pretty close race. And look, it was fantastic - a great result...

"What happened to Craig in the first race (DNF) - if he'd won that race it would've gobbled into a fair amount of Frosty's points lead, so I think we've gotten away relateively unscathed because it could've been much worse."

This season, it has been racing rather than qualifying that has been the team's strong point. Despite three front row starts for Winterbottom, and a qualifying best of third in New Zealand for Mostert, no Ford in the field - including stablemates David Reynolds and Jack Perkins, and the Dick Johnson Racing V8 Supercars - has managed an ARMOR ALL Pole Position in 2014.

Winterbottom's average qualifying position for the season is 7.5, behind Volvo's Scott McLaughlin (4.4), Whincup (5.6) and Lowndes (6.3). Edwards admitted to "struggling" in yesterday's qualifying sessions, with Winterbottom languishing back in 17th and 19th.

"The race car is quite competitive but you've got to sort qualifying out, it's been our issue all year, so we're working on it, we've got some ideas but we haven't, as we stand here at the moment (post-race) I don't think we've nailed it yet."

It was just a minor change that improved the cars between yesterday's races.

"All of a sudden we found ourselves in a much better window, so you don't have to change much on these cars when you're looking for such a small amount, half a tenth at every corner... Add up half a tenth on 13 corners and you've struck gold," Edwards said.

"I don't think we've quite got the pace of Garth (Tander, Race 21 winner) at the moment, he's a bit of a standout but ... it won't take much to just find another half a tenth in every corner and we'll be right on the money.

"Hoping (today) to qualify on pole. We're not going out to qualify 10th or 15, we're trying to quaify on pole. And if we can at least qualify in the first two or three rows then for the 250km race we're in with a shout."

Qualifying kicks off at 11am AEST at the Castrol Townsville 500 - Driven by TAFE Queensland, with an ARMOR ALL Top 10 Shootout at 12.05pm also determining the starting grid. The final 250km mini-marathon begins at 3.55pm local time - don't miss a minute of the V8 Supercars action.

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