Chaz Mostert enjoying ‘crazy’ ride to top
CHAZ Mostert is only 23, but he is in fourth place in the V8 Supercars Championship - hot on the tailgates of the vastly experienced Mark Winterbottom and Craig Lowndes.
The new kid on the block and winner of last year's extraordinary Bathurst 1000 has well and truly arrived, and he wants the front-runners to know he's a serious contender for this year's crown.
While Winterbottom and Lowndes hold first and second place on the table - with Fabian Coulthard in third - the Pepsi Max Crew young gun is next in fourth position.
He's just 174 points behind teammate Winterbottom.
And going into this weekend's Townsville 400, all indications are Mostert could make up some more championship ground.
The Melbourne-born man took out yesterday's third and final practice session.
His fastest lap time was 1min 13.2527sec, ahead of Nick Percat (1min13.3070sec).
Mostert enjoyed a breakout season last year, pipping four-time reigning V8 title holder Jamie Whincup at the Bathurst 1000, after a thrilling last lap.
That was just his second start in the endurance classic, making history by becoming the first man to win the great race from last spot on the grid.
The talented Ford driver is yet to salute at the north Queensland venue, but is looking forward to race one - over 70 laps and covering 200km - on the challenging circuit today.
"The car is the best it's ever been heading into two big races this weekend," Mostert declared to APN. "We'll be shooting for the top 10.
"I've gone okay at Townsville in the past with some pretty consistent results."
Mostert is confident he can handle whatever the Reid Park circuit will throw at him, with six different drivers taking the past six pole positions at the venue.
"There's a lot of strategy required for both races," Mostert said.
"There are a lot of curbs so you need to be good on the braking."
Mostert is still pinching himself at the amount of success he's achieved so early in his V8 career.
"It's crazy - when I was in go-kart racing in Year 7 and 8, I looked up to all these guys I'm going up against now," he said. "It's been a rollercoaster and a real eye-opener for me."
Winterbottom took out the first practice session yesterday, while Erebus's Will Davison produced the fastest lap in the second session.
- Mark Winterbottom (Pepsi Max Crew) 1165
- Craig Lowndes (Red Bull Racing) 1070
- Fabian Coulthard (Freightliner Racing) 1010
- Chaz Mostert (Pepsi Max Crew) 991
- Shane van Gisbergen (Team Darrell Lea STIX) 940
- James Courtney (Holden Racing Team) 935