It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since Chaz Mostert’s last Supercars win. In that time, he’s endured the lows of the sport, following a monster shunt at Bathurst that ended his 2015 campaign. It’s been a tough 12 months for the Ford young gun, but he’s shown resilience beyond his years, fighting back from injury to get back among the frontrunners in the most competitive category of touring cars in the world.
As Mark Winterbottom showed, 2015 was the year of the Falcon. Ford won its first championship in five years as well as dominating most race weekends. Mostert was leagues ahead of anyone else on the pole position tally, proving to be the man to beat in the sprint sessions. Prodrive Racing headed in to the Sydney Motorsports Park round in a comfortable 1-2 position in the championship.
Saturday’s running saw Mostert and Whincup notch up a win each, both showing great pace in the 60km dash races. On Sunday, rain throughout the day made conditions tricky. In an environment that would usually see Shane Van Gisbergen rise to the top, it was Mostert that controlled the race, seemingly untouchable, to notch up another victory for the year. The win put him closer in the points to Winterbottom, who conceded that the younger driver was the one to watch in the championship.
Sandown saw the pair put in a 1-2 result, cementing the belief that Prodrive could do no wrong. Bathurst also saw the Falcon perform well with both Mostert and his co-driver, now team-mate, Cam Waters, topping practice sessions. It was said in the paddock that Mostert was going to be doing the most important pole lap of his career.
On the first flying lap in qualifying, he clipped the wall coming down into Forrest Elbow and had a crash that wrote off the car. He also did some major damage to himself, breaking a leg and wrist from the violent side-to-side impacts and sustaining knee ligament damage. His championship campaign was over as fears turned to what would happen with his career.
Months of recovery led to his race return at this year’s season opener at Adelaide where he posted a pole position and a podium finish. While he has scored a few more podium finishes this year at Hidden Valley and Queensland Raceway, a win has so far eluded him. A change of garages, engineers and even direct team-mates have been the many factors that have been attributed to his struggles this year. Mostert has also notably changed his driving style from risk-taking to a more conservative approach.
Given how many different winners we have had this year, the pressure has been on Mostert, whom many believed would bounce back with fierce form this year.
Mostert himself, however, insists he doesn’t feel any added pressure, telling Speedcafe ahead of the Ipswich Super Sprint that he puts “the same amount of pressure on myself every weekend to try and perform at my best.”
“As long as I go out there and try my hardest and put everything on the table then that is all I can do.
“You can build on good results and if you get a win or podium it builds confidence.”
Mostert is confident that he’s edging closer to a breakthrough victory this season. Having recorded third and fifth placings at the last round, together with his previous form at Sydney Motorsport Park, could we see one of the Series most exciting talents climb the top step again this weekend?