With a break between Winton and Darwin, supercars.com is analysing the drivers’ results and performances in this first part of the season. The racing is the closest in history, with nine different winners in 11 races.
Chaz Mostert, Supercheap Auto Racing Engineer: Brad Wischusen
Average qualifying position: 5.6 Average finishing position: 12.2 Championship position: 12 Points to leader: 379 Wins: 0 Pole positions: 3
Best result: Clipsal 500 Race 2, pole and third place finish
Clocking the quickest lap at his first race meeting after his bone-breaking Bathurst injury was impressive from the then 23-year old.
Low point: Winton Sunday, 20th
The finishing position wasn’t Mostert’s lowest finish of the year, but after qualifying on pole and pulling off the ultimate strategy move by fuelling to the end under Safety Car, an unnecessary ‘racing incident’ with James Courtney was costly.
Even team boss Tim Edwards thought they would’ve won the race.
For: He’s undoubtedly quick enough to be a championship contender, and managed to come back into the picture after leaving the Clipsal 500 22nd last year.
Mostert was in exactly the same position after the first event this year, but has been unable to break through for wins after five events.
Despite the lack of wins, his return has been nothing short of remarkable. Mostert wore a brace on his injured knee in Perth, pained by the chilly temperatures – his crash really was life-changing and it hasn’t held him back.
Being relocated to the second Prodrive garage means he can run the same strategy as Mark Winterbottom and not have to worry about stacking behind the championship leader.
Mostert says he performs best when he’s under the radar, and team boss Tim Edwards believes all he needs is a little bit of luck.
Against: Mistakes are the young driver’s downfall. While the contact with James Courtney at Winton was a ‘racing incident’ – not blamed solely on Mostert – it was unnecessary to make such a risky pass when in the box seat.
Flashback to Winton 2015 when the Pepsi Max Falcon ended up parked with its rear in the tyres.
Mostert praised Wischusen for “sticking to his guns” at Winton and making the right calls.
The two seem to gel well, but is it the same magic Mostert had with Adam De Borre, who was with him at DJR on debut during the main series and for his Bathurst win?
Even with three pole positions to his name, Mostert’s qualifying average is less than Winterbottom’s and he too is yet to convert from pole.
Late last year Mostert shifted up to Queensland, where his family is, away from the workshop. Is it harder to stay connected to the team based in a different state?