Cam Waters is determined to return to the podium in Tasmania as he bids to resurrect his stuttering 2023 campaign.
Waters was a shock points leader in Newcastle after he inherited the Race 1 win due to the double Triple Eight disqualification, and is still Ford's only winner so far this season.
Eight races have passed, and sixth in the Perth finale has been Waters’ best showing after a run of outs.
Eight starts without a podium is Waters' worst run without silverware since he went nine races off the podium in 2021, all coming at Sydney Motorsport Park.
The Tickford Racing star’s tough run began when he damaged his car chasing Chaz Mostert for the Race 2 lead in Newcastle.
Finishes of seventh, 19th, 10th and 10th followed in Melbourne, before he spun out of the Perth opener after contact from Andre Heimgartner, and finished 22nd.
The Mildura product bounced back with finishes of eighth and sixth, but after three rounds, is already 261 points from the series lead.
In eight seasons in Supercars, Waters has only been further from the lead after three rounds on three occasions — in 2016 (284 points), 2022 (282) and 2019 (280).
Given the tight margins at the front, Waters knows he needs to make it count at this weekend’s NED Whisky Tasmania SuperSprint.
“We’ve been competitive — we just haven’t converted well enough,” Waters told Supercars.com.
“Newcastle, we were quick, but I made a mistake.
“AGP, we didn’t have much luck, and Perth, we found a few things wrong.
“We really need to start getting a few more trophies, getting a few more points on the board.
“Tassie’s going to be super close. Qualifying is going to be critical to make sure you’re starting up the pointy end.
Waters on the Race 1 podium
“Hopefully we can have a good weekend.”
It’s not to say Tickford is off the pace — James Courtney scored a Perth podium, with Waters also returning to the front on the Sunday.
Waters has recent form in Tasmania, taking a pole and podium on the Saturday in 2022.
His 2022 campaign kicked off from there, Waters regularly fighting for wins for the rest of the season en route to second overall.
The 28-year-old arrives in Tasmania having tested the Gen3 Mustang prototype at Symmons Plains last year.
With qualifying margins closing up in Perth — all three pole positions were decided by less than 0.1s — and closer racing on show, Waters is braced for a “full-on” weekend.
“It’s 12 months on since I first drove the Gen3 car at Tassie,” he said.
“It’ll be cool to see how far they’ve come in that 12 months.
“Qualifying is super close in Tassie usually, but so far this year, qualifying times have been closer again.
"The racing’s going to be pretty full-on, and hopefully a few more passes compared to the previous generation car.
“Hopefully we can get a few trophies."
Erebus Motorsport Chevrolet driver Brodie Kostecki leads Walkinshaw Andretti United Ford star Chaz Mostert by 100 points heading to Tasmania.
Defending champion, Red Bull Ampol Chevrolet ace Shane van Gisbergen, is 136 points down in third, ahead of Kostecki's teammate Will Brown.
Van Gisbergen's teammate Broc Feeney is fifth ahead of Penrite Racing Ford veteran David Reynolds, with Waters seventh.
The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will resume at the NED Whisky Tasmania SuperSprint this weekend.
Tickets for the event are on sale on Supercars.com and Ticketek.com.