Chaz Mostert has admitted he was “pretty” in defending his way to victory in Race 18 of the Repco Supercars Championship.
Mostert defied a tire disadvantage – changing severe few tires during a far earlier pit stop – to hold off the likes of Anton De Pasquale in the final leg of the Darwin Triple Crown.
De Pasquale’s #11 Shell V-Power Racing Team Mustang loomed large in the mirrors of the #25 Mobil 1 Optus Racing Commodore but could not find a way past as Mostert took his fourth race win of the season.
“I was pretty cheeky,” Mostert said of the exchange.
“I mean, we were probably the slowest out of them at the front but if I didn’t cover him he was going to be up the inside, so I had to be pretty defensive.
“Definitely those last couple of laps I was pretty much running out of puff with the tires and I’m just glad that was the last lap there and then.
“Anton raced super fair, probably a little bit too fair to be honest, he probably could have used his nose a little bit more, but I was pretty glad to hang on.”
Having started sixth, Mostert made his way to the front by virtue of an aggressive undercut strategy, making his compulsory pit stop on Lap 9 of 38.
None of the lead quartet during the opening stint – De Pasquale, Will Davison, Shane van Gisbergen, and Cameron Waters – pitted until at least 10 laps later, by which time Mostert had opened up a buffer.
“You have got to be aggressive in these sprint races if you want to try to be able to get a trophy, or a didgeridoo this weekend,” Mostert said.
“I didn’t think we would win the race doing what we did but I would have thought more people would have followed me in to cover me off, but they let me do my own race… then I just had to hang on at the end.”
It was a better event overall for Walkinshaw Andretti United, aside from Mostert’s Race 16 disqualification, as team-mate Nick Percat took top 10 finishes in the two Sunday encounters.
Percat has generally struggled since joining WAU this season, and had a change of engineer from Geoffrey Slater to Grant McPherson pre-Darwin.
“I think we made some good steps forward this weekend overall,” said the #2 driver.
“Not where we want to be, but definitely got better as the weekend went on, and it gives us a good direction to keep improving.”
Next on the agenda is the NTI Townsville 500, running across July 8-10.