Mostert’s Heartbreak at the Mountain
Oct. 16, 2019
Conquering the Mountain is a feat coveted by many Supercar drivers. While there were mixed results at Pukehohe Park, Mostert is gunning for a win at 2019 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, as his handling of the No.55 Mustang grows in confidence. With a 3rd place finish from the last race, Mostert is closing down on 2nd place Shane Van Gisbergen in the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
Friday’s atmosphere was set alive during the practice rounds, with Mostert setting a lightning quick 2:03.5089, right after the championship leader Scott McLaughlin’s 2:03.6965. He became the sixth driver to ever set a 2:03s lap at Bathurst, joining Andre Heimgartner, Will Davison, Cameron Waters, McLaughlin and Jamie Whincup.
“For me the car kept getting better. I think just learning how to drive it and get the most out of it is the biggest thing,” Mostert commented, adding that the car’s settings would be more beneficial during the race. “We’ve been working hard on the car in practice, it feels a bit better on full tanks than light tanks, so I’m hoping we got a better race car than qualifying car.”
Mostert also attributed the 2:03 lap to his experience in driving the BMW GT3 at the Bathurst 12hr endurance race. “I’m very lucky I get to do some BMW laps in the GT3 across here, I think that’s helped a lot with the Supercars getting faster and faster over the year.”
While the blistering practice laps helped, the wet conditions of the Amour All Qualifying Race 25 made the Mountain unpredictable, with many Supercars sliding across the grass at the Chase. Mostert traded pole position with McLaughlin several times, dipping into the 2:30s, before McLaughlin sealed it with a 2:27.647s. Qualifying for the shootout in 2nd place, Mostert stands a chance to grab pole position on Saturday. “The second set of tyres we put on didn’t come in until very very late. It is what it is. At least we are in the top 10,” said Mostert. “Everyone in the pitlane can give themselves a pat on the back. I had about 10 or a dozen moments out there where I thought ‘that was close,’ no doubt everyone was feeling that,” he added.
Saturday’s Armour All Top Ten Shootout had the same tense atmosphere as Friday, as Mostert limbers up to do battle with McLaughlin again. With only one lap to determine pole position, Mostert did his best to replicate his incredible practice laptime. While still nabbing a very decent 2:03.7897, it was 0.4s off McLaughlin’s insane 2:03.3783, which is now the fastest Supercar lap ever set at Bathurst. Tickford Racing’s stable mate Cameron Waters in the No.6 Monster Energy Racing Ford Mustang also dipped into the 2:03s, clinching the 3rd position on Sunday’s starting grid.
The 2nd and 3rd positions of the Tickford Racing Mustangs would prove fateful on Sunday. After a strong start to the 1000km and the team Tickford cars in the Top 5 for most of the race, on lap 123 things went badly wrong, under fuel saving orders from Tickford, Mostert tried to go around Waters at the Chase after coming down Conrod Straight. They both collided, spinning each other off into the sand trap, stranding them and getting passed by Jamie Whincup and Scott McLaughlin. Mostert then had to return to the pits to serve a drive-through penalty for the incident, ending any hopes for a podium this year. Mostert finished eventually in 16th position, picking up 114 points, and letting Bathurst 1000 6th placed Fabian Coulthard climb above him in the Championship points.
After the race, Mostert approached gutted Waters and the team to apologize before leaving the track. In later team statement, Mostert said he was ‘shattered’. “You know, it’s the biggest race of the year, the event we look forward to the most, and the race we want to win the most.”
Conceding it was his fault, Mostert went on to say “I didn’t need to pass him, shouldn’t have tried, and it ruined both our races which is the worst part. I’m really sorry to Cam and the whole team, we should be celebrating a podium or two right now, but we are empty handed.”
Now in 4th position on 2441 points, Mostert will be focusing on the 2019 VodaFone Gold Coast 600 on the 26th- 27th October to make amends for this year’s disappointing Bathurst results.