Having been in the shadow of Red Bull Racing for so long, you can forgive V8 Supercars leader Mark Winterbottom being cautious about writing off his rivals.
Winterbottom heads to this weekend’s event at Queensland Raceway in Ipswich holding a 248-point lead in the championship from Red Bull’s Craig Lowndes.
Defending champion Jamie Whincup is back in a lowly eighth in the standings, having failed to make the podium in any of his last nine races.
Winterbottom and his Prodrive Racing Australia teammates Chaz Mostert and David Reynolds have won nine of the past 11 races amongst themselves however.
But Ford ace Winterbottom says it would be foolish to assume Red Bull can’t bounce back at Queensland Raceway, their home track where they’ve won eight of the past 11 V8 races.
“It’s a bit different this year because no one’s tested,” Winterbottom told AAP.
“We went to Winton in an FG-X that’s never driven there so although it’s your home test track the days where you used to get four or five test days are gone.
“The home track advantage goes a little bit but there’s no doubt they’ll still be strong there.
“Anyone can win there, it’s a really tough event.”
Winterbottom himself has just two wins from over 20 starts at Queensland Raceway, both coming in the 2008 championship.
But he says he’s confident the dominant Falcon he’s been driving all year will continue to be a pacesetter.
“I think our car should suit that track now,” he said.
“Our car’s good on bumps and that turn one and two is where we struggled a bit last year on the bumps.
“I’m looking forward to going there.”