Not so long ago, Mark Winterbottom thought his chances of defending his Supercars title this year were “cactus”.
But the Ford gun is now convinced this weekend’s Bathurst 1000 can provide redemption.
Winterbottom’s championship hopes took a major hit when he finished a disastrous 23rd with co-driver Dean Canto at the recent Sandown 500, relegating him to fifth in the driver standings.
Yet Winterbottom is still convinced a Bathurst podium can resurrect his year, despite now being 340 points behind new series leader Shane van Gisbergen.
Winterbottom even admitted winning Bathurst would almost make up for missing out on a chance to defend his Supercars title – almost.
“Winning Bathurst turns any year into a fantastic year,” he told AAP.
“If you came last in every race but then won Bathurst it makes it a successful year.
“If we get a good result here then it brings the championship back in a decent position.”
Winterbottom was convinced Bathurst could turn his season defence around.
“You can never give up,” he said.
“The longer the season goes the more pressure there is on the top guys – anything can happen.
“Last year I had a 178 point lead coming into Homebush (final round in Sydney) but I never felt I had wrapped it up.
“You never give up, it’s never over until that last lap.”
He may be a Ford disciple but Winterbottom admitted it would be special weekend on the mountain, acknowledging the 10th anniversary of Holden great Peter Brock’s death.
“Regardless of what is going on, Bathurst is the biggest race of the year,” he said.
“But you throw in Brock’s anniversary – it’s already special, but now it is iconic.”