A dominant showing by Triple Eight yesterday has not discouraged defending champ Mark Winterbottom, who is biding his time in the title fight.
Frosty was the ‘best of the rest’ yesterday behind the Triple Eight trifecta of Shane van Gisbergen, Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes at Queensland Raceway.
While van Gisbergen’s victory yesterday took him to four wins to Whincup’s two and Winterbottom’s one, the defending champ said those numbers meant nothing if you didn't have the points. And that comes from maximising what you’ve got.
“We are trying – I don’t care if he wins 15 races,” Winterbottom told supercars.com.
“If we win the championship we’ve won – then, I couldn’t care less how many wins he gets.
“Last year, we had nine and that was awesome, but the best part about the year was December – not Winton or any of those races.
“He is going to be a threat, but safety cars can play havoc sometimes, they split their strategy some days and one guy is going to get favoured. At points, it will work for one and not the other…
“There is a lot that can roll out but you’ve just got to keep trying and enjoy it.”
The Bottle-O racer wasn’t intimidated by Triple Eight’s showing, saying it wasn’t unusual to see all cars in a group perform well when they are strong at a particular circuit. He acknowledged their talent behind the wheel, too.
“They’ve had a good day – they’re all three very good drivers, so when they’ve got a car that’s all hooked up it’s no surprise to see all three up there because they’re all very good,” he said.
“But win lose or draw we won’t give up.
“We were the best of the rest, which was nice but the first stint I actually thought we could match them quite well, it was really good my car. The second stint we lost pace.
“I know if we can do it in one stint, or we can do it at Townsville in the shootout, or we can do it at times, the car’s there. We’ve got awesome people working with us so you don’t drop your bottom lip, we work hard and try and beat them.”
Getting teammate Chaz Mostert back at the front consistently will help, given there is power in numbers. And there are still six rounds remaining with 300 points on offer, including Sandown where Winterbottom won in 2015.
“The time will come – you just finish as high as you can when it’s not there and when you get it use it,” he said.
“I know I’m driving well cause you’re next, ‘best of the rest’ I so you’re maximing what you’ve got.
“We just need to get up with them and put pressure on and be racing them. So if Chaz and I can get in them and start racing them as well – it’ll be two [of us] as opposed to three on one.
“The power is in their numbers at the moment.”
Given the changing conditions at Queensland Raceway, it was particularly difficult for Winterbottom to know if they could improve overnight. Super Black stablemate Chris Pither took pole, with Mostert in the mix – so working as a group could help Frosty as well, as it did with Triple Eight yesterday.
“Although we’re not beating them, there’s lots of guys who would be happy with our car at the moment. Chris is quick at turn two, then there’s Chaz – if we can combine we can definitely do it,” Winterbottom said.