In the driver's seat

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 08/11/2015
  • By Kassie Gadeke

Tim Edwards warns that Prodrive must not make any mistakes, and push on for a one-two Championship finish this season.

Mark Winterbottom, who has been the man to beat this season, leads stablemate and yesterday's second race winner David Reynolds by 286 points and from here, catastrophe would have to strike for Winterbottom to fall down.

While he didn't qualify as well as he would've liked yesterday, the Pepsi Max Crew found the sweet spot for 'Frosty' in yesterday's second race. Team boss Edwards believed he would be more competitive and confident for today's 200km run at the ITM 500 Auckland.

After yesterday's happenings, Reynolds very well could threaten Winterbottom, and Edwards agreed a Bottle-O title win would be equally as good for the team. But the downside of that would be the seeing the Pepsi Max Crew fall apart.

"The Championship is looking good but there's a long way to go," Edwards told v8supercars.com.au.

"Anything's possible mathematically and that's why we have to make sure we don't make any mistakes, because it'll only be a mistake that will allow that to happen.

"Losing points here or there, if you do the maths, he's not going to catch Frosty.

"So without a DNF, drive through penalties or any of those things that really impact your race - without those things nobody's going to beat Frosty.

"We just have to make sure none of those things happen ... of course he [Reynolds] can beat him, but only if Mark has shockers."

Following the Gold Coast -Winterbottom's worst round to date - competitor Craig Lowndes' stocks rose. But a tyre explosion while leading the race yesterday meant 75 pointswent begging and Lowndes lost ground to Reynolds in the fight as well.

"You never like to see that happen to anyone," Edwards said of the accident.

"Anything can happen in the Championship -you saw what happened to Chaz [Mostert at Bathurst] a couple of races ago, so it's not over until it's over.

"We've just got to keep doing our thing, make sure we don't make mistakes, make sure we give Frosty a fast car to race with."

Still, the team can breathe easier with a 306-point buffer over the Red Bull favourite.

For Prodrive -which has never won a Championship - a one-two would be a great feat. Not only do they have the talent to do it this year - Edwards seems to be proving the team has the stars of the future too.

"The goal was 1-2-3 and after Chaz's accident it became 1-2, so this is absolutely what we want.

"And also Cam," he continued, referring to Dunlop Series leader Cameron Waters who is filling in for the injured Mostert.

"Cam did a great job [yesterday]. He's learning all the time.

"It was a big ask for him - he jumped in the car after the first qualifying accident and straight out into his first soft tyre qualifying and he put it tenth on the grid. Pretty impressive.

"In fact, his next lap was looking to be quite a lot faster and he just came across a slow car at the end of that lap, so I think there was potential there he'd be higher again.

"He's doing everything we asked of him, so really pleased with his performance."

Waters' performance is key to securing the teams championship, which helps determine pit lane position for the following season, which is both prestigious and a strategic advantage.

Prodrive leads the Holden Racing Team by 416 and Red Bull by 465.

But the drivers championship is the top priority and given there are no certainties in racing, Edwards is focused on continuing to improve the car and keeping Winterbottom confident.

"I think the most positive thing out of [yesterday] is that Frosty is a lot happier with the car, with the changes we made for that second race dramatically improved the car. That's the main thing we're focusing on.

"We didn't have a fast enough car, so we got some good direction from that last race, so that's a positive," Edwards said.

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