Ford star Chaz Mostert forced his way back into the V8 Supercars championship race with an impressive wire-to-wire victory at Queensland Raceway on Sunday.
Mostert finally delivered on his outstanding qualifying form, converting his eighth pole of the year into a third race win.
The Prodrive Racing Australia star ends the weekend third in the championship standings, behind teammate Mark Winterbottom and Holden’s Craig Lowndes.
Sunday’s 65-lap race was effectively over by the first corner when Mostert got off the line quicker than Winterbottom, with no-one coming close to the 23-year-old for the remainder of the afternoon.
“My pole to victories hasn’t been a very good ratio,” Mostert said.
“Today was maybe a lucky start but we’ll go to the next round and do the same procedure, the same thing we have been doing the last couple of rounds.
“We’ve just got to wait and see. It worked for today but we’ll wait until we go to the next one.”
Winterbottom, who secured both race wins on Saturday, lost second place to Lowndes during the first round of pit-stops but held on to finish third and end the weekend with a championship lead of 265 points.
Lowndes came home second to complete a trio of podium finishes for the weekend and, despite his healthy advantage, Winterbottom admitted both his rivals remain real concerns.
“It’s good to see Chaz getting results and if we can finish one-two, that’s what we’re trying to do as a team,” Winterbottom said.
“His qualifying speed is superior to everyone in the category at the moment … we’re matching that. We’re at least getting second when we’re not having good runs.
“It’s going to be a good battle to the end of the year, it always is.”
Lowndes admits it is getting tougher to contemplate overhauling Winterbottom, but his weekend’s results have given him hope.
“We’re looking around the corner, I don’t know if we’ve turned it,” he said.
“We’ve definitely improved the car over the course of this weekend.”
The next round of the V8 Supercars is the Sydney Motorsport Park SuperSprint from August 21 to 23.