Winterbottom aims for V8 pole in Townsville

Last updated 15:28 03/07/2014
Mark Winterbottom
Getty Images
HAPPY MAN: V8 Supercars leader Mark 'Frosty' Winterbottom.

Relevant offers

Motorsport

Richard Verschoor wins at Teretonga after Thomas Randle penalty Hayden Paddon's gran says level-headed rally driver will get past 'low point' Belgian Thierry Neuville leads Monte Carlo Rally by 45 seconds Hometown hero Brendon Leitch starts well in Toyota Racing Series round at Teretonga Truck racer Dave West returns to Teretonga Park 12 months after horror crash Riverton driver Ethan Anderson taking on Formula Ford challenge Spectator who fell in Hayden Paddon crash in the Monte Carlo rally dies Invercargill driver Brendon Leitch reflects on his early days at Teretonga Park Intrigue amongst the Toyota Racing Series drivers who will compete at Teretonga Park Shane van Gisbergen's car for V8 Supercar title defence unveiled

Mark Winterbottom is hoping to end a V8 Supercars qualifying dry spell this weekend as the championship heads to Townsville.

The championship leader is remarkably without a pole in 21 races stretching back to Phillip Island last year.

But Winterbottom hoped a return to grid position No 1 in Queensland would help him maintain a strong lead in the championship race.

‘‘We haven’t really looked like a pole,’’ Winterbottom said.

‘‘Our qualifying has been our weakness; we’ve had a couple on the front row in position two. It’d make the job easier. If you can qualify up the front, no doubt it makes it easier to race.’’

Three wins in four points-rich Sunday races in Darwin, Auckland and Winton have propelled the career Ford driver to a strong lead over the chasing Red Bull Holdens of Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup.

He insists he’s not averse to winning on a Saturday too – but knows he needs to improve his grid position to do it.

‘‘That’s probably been the reason that Saturday has been tough for us. In the shorter races, qualifying is more important,’’ he said.

‘‘We do need to get better at it – there’s no doubt.’’

The good news is Townsville is one of ‘‘Frosty’s’’ best circuits – he has five front-row starts in the past six races and enjoys the challenge of the hybrid track.

The circuit is a mix of street and circuit racing around the city’s Reid Park, giving engineers and drivers plenty to worry about.

Smooth in some parts and bumpy in others, Winterbottom said the changing circuit would lead to different cars firing in different sectors.

‘‘It’s unique,’’ Winterbottom said

‘‘You can have a mixed bag on where you’re quick and where you struggle. It makes it really tricky to set up the car and get your driving style right.’’

The rivalry between Holden and Ford had a new flashpoint in Darwin last month.

After qualifying on pole, former champ Lowndes clashed with Winterbottom’s Ford teammate Chaz Mostert in Sunday’s race, puncturing a tyre and taking a huge hit in the championship standings.

Lowndes’ 65-point gap on Winterbottom was blown out to 161 points after he finished 17th.

Ad Feedback

Red Bull team boss Roland Dane called Mostert an idiot and ‘‘not the sharpest tool in the shed’’ but Winterbottom said he wasn’t concerned about promised retribution.

‘‘Chaz raced him and so he should,’’ he said.

‘‘He’s going to be at the front for a long time so you wouldn’t want to upset him too much.’’

- AAP

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who is your favourite V8 Supercars driver?

Scott McLaughlin

Shane Van Gisbergen

Fabian Coulthard

Jamie Whincup

Mark Winterbottom

Craig Lowndes

Vote Result

Related story: (See story)

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content

Blog