Mostert concedes tough Supercars fight ahead
Chaz Mostert might not be giving up on the 2018 Supercars season just yet, but he concedes that there's a tough fight ahead based on Tickford's current car speed woes.
The four-car team has endured a frustrating start to the Supercars season, having been the only multi-car team to have not finished on the podium heading into last weekend's Perth round.
While that unwanted streak was broken by Mark Winterbottom's well-earned second place on Saturday, it was, generally speaking, another difficult weekend for the Tickford drivers.
Winterbottom went backwards on Sunday, finishing just 21st, while Cam Waters slipped from sixth in Saturday's shorter race to 13th in Sunday's 200-kilometre degradation marathon.
Richie Stanaway came away from the weekend with a 24th and 19th despite qualifying 14th on Sunday, while Mostert led the early stages of Sunday's race before being dumped back in the field by a fuel-timer issue.
He then struggled with degradation in the second half of the race, coming home 11th, eight spots back from where he started the race.
Mostert is currently best of the Tickford drivers in the standings, sitting eighth. However he is 402 points behind leader Scott McLaughlin, which equates to an entire round plus an additional 102 points.
"We've got a lot of work to do," Mostert told the Fox Sports Trackside programme after the second race in Perth.
"I'm not putting the white flag up, but this championship this year is going to be very hard this far into it, and with the car we've got at the moment."
Mostert went on to detail Tickford's woes, saying that on the high-deg Barbagallo Raceway surface he was fighting turn-in understeer which played havoc with the already-sensitive tyre life.
"For me probably the biggest thing is I have to wrestle the car to turn," he said.
"You have to be putting an input into the car to make it turn, and if you don't have an input in the car, then there's a push of understeer. And what that does around [Barbagallo] is like a cheese grater, the rubber on the car just get sheared away because the track is so coarse.
"Once [the tyres] start sliding across the surface the degradation accelerates. You've got to have some degradation at some point, but if I can't keep the nose loaded and can't keep the brake on, I loose turn.
"Once the front goes, the rear is a sitting duck after that because you're trying to grab throttle and do weird stuff trying to do inputs to turn the car to try and get drive."
Mostert added that the switch back to the 2016-spec Dunlop control tyre has made the car's issues even worse.
"I think the biggest thing from last year to this year is that we had some miss-balances last year, but last year's tyre window was massive compared to this year," he said. "I think it's really shortened up, and for us we're outside the window we need to be in."
Not even having Tickford's test track Winton up next on the schedule is giving Mostert hope.
"A lot of people say the people that have their home-track advantage generally go better at those events, but in saying that I haven't been there this year," he added.
"I haven't been there since last year because the first test day is at Eastern Creek and we've opted to hold on to a second test day until a bit later in the year.
"I think we'll probably have similar problems."
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