Winning a V8 Supercars championship was nothing more than a pipe dream for Chaz Mostert at the start of the year, but it’s now very much a reality for the Ford young gun.
The 23-year-old claimed two wins and a podium in the weekend’s three races at Sydney Motorsport Park, the final event before the all-important endurance series.
He also added two pole positions – marking 10 for the season.
His victory in Sunday’s rain-hit and shortened 50-lap feature brought him to within 176 points of the leader and Prodrive Racing Australia teammate Mark Winterbottom.
Mostert, the reigning Bathurst champion, came into the weekend third on the standings.
“Everyone’s goal is to get as many points as they can to try and win the championship,” he said.
“This year, for me, I thought it was pretty unrealistic.
“But after a good weekend here and if we have a good run through the enduros, we never know where we’ll end up.
Winterbottom had enjoyed a handy 256-point lead over Holden veteran Craig Lowndes heading into the round, but a poor weekend in western Sydney for both has turned the title race on its head.
Winterbottom, chasing his first crown after a decade of attempts, finished the weekend’s opening sprint second, but only managed eighth and 12th in the others.
Lowndes fared worse – crossing the line fifth, 12th and 19th.
He now sits third and 255 points adrift of the lead, with another PRA driver in David Reynolds hot on his tail just 27 points back in fourth.
PRA insist there are no team orders and have given Winterbottom and Mostert the green light to battle it out for the championship.
But the younger of the two isn’t predicting tension in the garage.
“We have a good relationship; we’ve always been pretty good,” said Mostert.
“If he wins, I’ll go down and congratulate him, and if I win likewise.
“At the end of the day, if we can get 1-2 in the championship we’ve done the job for the team.”
Series veteran Jason Bright, who finished third in Sunday’s race despite being bumped off track late, said Mostert and Winterbottom would no doubt be doing everything they can to get wins.
“At the end of the day, whether something happens on track and they end up not mates remains to be seen, but I think they’re both good blokes,” Bright said.
“We’ll see what happens the rest of the year, it’s going to be a good one.”
The championship next heads to Sandown from September 11, marking the beginning of the endurance series.
The Bathurst 1000 and Gold Coast 600 follow on October 11 and 25.