Mostert soaking up Bathurst success
CHAZ Mostert says he hasn't had time to think about his victory in the Bathurst 1000, and it will be "a few weeks" before the achievement sinks in.
On the most extraordinary day at Mt Panorama, the Ford Performance Racing rookie, competing in the event for just the second time, joined with veteran Paul Morris to claim an unlikely win.
Mostert passed leader and pre-race favourite Jamie Whincup on the last of 161 gruelling laps after the four-time champion's car ran out of fuel within sight of the finish, eventually limping over the line in fifth place.
The 22-year-old Mostert, with just two wins in the V8 Supercars Championship to his credit, said it was simply too hard to believe he had won the race he started watching as a seven-year-old.
"I never knew when I was seven years old watching V8 Supercars as a big fan, watching my idols go around, that I would actually win that race one day," he said on radio SEN yesterday.
"And at the age of 22 I can't believe it to be honest."
Not only did Mostert and Morris win the race, they came from dead last on the grid after being excluded from Friday's qualifying following an incident in a practice session on Thursday when Mostert passed under a red flag.
The man with him at the back of the grid was Whincup after he crashed his car in qualifying.
But in an astonishing display of driving, the Red Bull Racing man not only worked his way to the front of the field once, he had to do it twice after being given a drive-through penalty for taking out Todd Kelly on the first lap after the race had been restarted following a one-hour suspension to make repairs to the track.
Despite the heroic effort, Whincup wasn't spared from criticism by Red Bull Racing team owner Roland Dane yesterday.
Dane blamed the Queenslander for ignoring instructions to conserve fuel in the closing stages.
"Jamie decided to take a gamble from inside the car - we wanted him to adopt a different strategy and he decided to freelance," Dane told the ABC.
"Jamie's won plenty of races for us over the years.
"Many, many races where his input has made all the difference - this wasn't one of them."
With Ford still considering its involvement in the sport beyond 2015, speculation is growing that V8 Supercars organisers could change the rules to eventually allow six and even four-cylinder cars to compete in the championship.
Nissan races a variety of engines in its global motorsport program, while Volvo does not offer any V8 cars to the market worldwide and is considering phasing out its six-cylinder engines in favour of 2.0 litre, turbo-charged four cylinder engines.
- APN SPORTS BUREAU