Chaz Mostert has been picturing his V8 Supercars return for five months – and in that time, he never expected to be starting from ARMOR ALL Pole Position.
The 23-year old made an incredible comeback at the Clipsal 500 yesterday, earning the top spot in the second qualifying session and surprising even himself.
He’s told the story of his rehabilitation and now it’s time to start the season in style.
The fact that Mostert was surprised about his pole and compared it to his Bathurst win may tell just how much he has gone through – as does his aim to finish all three races in the top 10 this weekend.
“I didn’t expect it at all,” Mostert told v8supercars.com.au of his pole position.
“The car felt really good out there, I enjoyed the balance and super stoked to be able to do that first round back and looking forward to getting out there.
“I want to finish all three races – three top 10s would be absolutely amazing and we’ll see what we can do.”
For Mostert, there probably isn’t a more challenging place to face.
On top of the soaring temperatures set for the weekend in Adelaide and the physical nature of the race, his record has been blotted by two car bending crashes in two years.
But his time away from the driver’s seat has been a time of reflection and the young star knows he needs to play the long game this season, rather than going too hard to soon.
“I’ve had five months to think about this event and how I’m going to approach this event [and] if the body was up to it – which, thank God, it is.
“Being young and so eager to race hard and not think about the bigger picture so much can really ... make you, maybe, push 110 per cent straight off at the start of the season, which can obviously cause some errors and driver faults and crash some cars.
“I’ve tried to adjust my mentality for this weekend, come in with a more relaxed approach thinking about a longer year. Maybe the injury might help in that situation saying ‘I don’t need a crash right now’ and stuff like that.”
Mostert was a killer qualifier last year and earned the ARMOR ALL Pole Award despite missing four events after his Bathurst accident, which left him with a broken leg, wrist and knee issues.
Is he scared of crashing again?
“I don’t think you want to crash at the best of times. That’s not really at the back my head.
“Maybe the first practice or so there were a couple of things – the build up to turn eight, that’s probably the most dangerous corner on the track, one of the fastest corners on the track. Saying that, it’s generally a low impact inside the cabin….
“I’ve worked away perfectly fine so if something does happen, I’m not worried about getting injured or anything around here. Let’s just hope we don’t end up in those situations. I don’t think about it.”
In the post-race press conference, Mostert dismissed the heat as a factor, given his cooling equipment works as planned over the weekend.
He won’t do anything different to previous years to deal with the heat and his body, with hydration the key and an ice bath or two.
The Supercheap Auto driver starts from 12th in today’s first race on soft tyres and from pole in the second race.