A late race puncture was costly for Chaz Mostert, who fell down the order from third to 23rd when his Supercheap Auto Falcon speared off-track at Phillip Island.
The young gun didn’t steer a lap at the circuit last year, recovering from his injuries sustained at Bathurst, but showed speed qualifying on the front row and holding a podium position for the majority of the 120km race.
“It was simply a puncture in the end, half a lap from home to get a third,” he said.
“A bit heartbroken, but still got across the line, which is the main thing.
“I got some points out of something that would’ve been really good. So [there’s] disappointment but we’ll just have to go and fight again another day.”
He didn’t believe the puncture was anything the team did: “I don’t think it’s anything car related, I think it’s just an unlucky day.”
Mostert won the ARMOR ALL Pole Award last year, despite missing four events, and hasn’t lost an ounce of his qualifying speed.
He hasn’t seemed happy in his Ford Falcon FG X in the races though, and says his team will look to tune up the car overnight before a 200km stretch tomorrow.
“I think we’ve got a little bit of work to do definitely, but it’s just one of those things,” Mostert said.
“I think we had a slow pit stop which put us back a lot.
“We stuffed Frosty over bit coming back out the pits which we don’t want to do. We need to be squeaky clean, we need to be fast in the stops and not puncturing tyres.”
Mostert sits 19th in the Championship points, with a third place finish in the second race at the Clipsal 500 his best race result of the season.
Jamie Whincup leads the Championship after finishing second to Scott McLaughlin today at the WD-40 Phillip Island SuperSprint.