Mark Winterbottom and Ford Performance Racing have been left to reflect on a season of missed opportunity after seeing another V8 Supercars Championship slip away in 2012.
Winterbottom will head into next month’s final event in Sydney 317 points adrift of TeamVodafone’s Jamie Whincup with just 300 points still available.
CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s full Race 28 report, results and updated championship standings
The penultimate event at Winton has also seen TeamVodafone walk away with the Teams’ Championship in a season that began with FPR winning nine of the first 11 races.
“We gave it our best shot this year, but it wasn’t good enough,” FPR team principal Tim Edwards told Speedcafe.com after Race 28.
“We did a good job, not a great job, and Triple Eight did. I think we’ve learnt a lot as a team this year, but we have to do better.
“Everyone is very disappointed about today. Yes, great, we came second, but we didn’t come here for that. We came here to win.”
“It’s only going to be little things,” he added of how the team can turn the tables in 2013.
“It’s not like we can twist a widget that will fix our problems! It’s 1000 things that we have to do that small bit better.
“One of the things we have going for us next year is that we’re keeping the core group together, just like Triple Eight has done.
“The same core group of drivers, engineers, mechanics. That’s one of the 1000 things that are massively important.
“We’ll still got to Homebush and try to win the races. It’s a fickle business this – you’re only as good as your last race, so we’ll be able to trade off that for two and a half months if we can win that.”
Winterbottom heads to Sydney just 63 points clear of third-placed Craig Lowndes, who beat the #5 Orrcon Ford to victory in Winton’s Sunday race.
The 31-year-old has finished in the championship’s top five each year since joining FPR in 2006 without winning the title.
“You want to win it but you’ve just got to work harder next time and work on your faults and improve on the things you did do well as well,” he said of seeing long-time rival Whincup take another title.
“We’ll try and go out in Sydney the way that we want to and try and win races but what can you do?
“It’s disappointing but there are 26 blokes behind that are more disappointed than what I am.
“It’s still a good year but when you don’t win it it’s disappointing.”