Ill Winterbottom ready for tough Race 13

Mark Winterbottom

Mark Winterbottom

Virus-stricken Mark Winterbottom is confident that his extensive fitness regime will see him through what promises to be a physical 13th race of the 2012 V8 Supercars Championship at Hidden Valley.

Winterbottom finished third in yesterday’s opening race at the Skycity Triple Crown despite battling a virus contracted pre-event from his 15-month-old son Oliver.

The 31-year-old Winterbottom has been utilising the Essendon AFL team’s training facility since enduring a water skiing accident last Christmas, and is expecting the extra work to pay off today.

“You train hard in the gym to make sure that in the worst case scenario you will be right to battle,” said Winterbottom of the prospect of tackling today’s 200km race, where cabin temperatures are again expected to exceed 50 degrees celsius.

“I’ve got no doubts I’ll be ok, but it is hot. When you’ve got a virus you run higher temps so you naturally feel hotter and sweat more.

“It is more physical, but the time in the gym is what I’ll be relying on to get through the race. If I didn’t work hard at the gym then I’d probably struggle.”

Although frustrated by pitlane gossip about his virus, Winterbottom poked fun at the ‘solitary confinement’ he has been placed under in between sessions at the circuit.

“According to the gossip in pitlane I’ve had mad cow, I’ve had everything, but really I’ve just got a virus that was given to me by my boy,” said Winterbottom.

“I’ve been living the life of the boy in the bubble (so far this weekend). I’ve been hanging out in the front of the truck where they hand me cookies through a little slot. I’m like an ape at the zoo!”

Regardless of his health, Winterbottom says he’ll need a stronger long-run car if he is to contend for victory in today’s race.

“I had quite bad tyre life in yesterday,” explained Winterbottom, who eventually completed the 42 lap journey in excess of 6s behind race winner Jamie Whincup.

“I struggled a little bit early with the hard tyre going away, and when you’re struggling for tyre life on the hard you obviously don’t want to pit early to put the softs on because you’re going to cop a double whammy.

“We went a little bit longer which put me back out down in the pack a little bit. You use your tyre to then get back into position, and by the time I was clear the car was really backing its way into the corners. Third was probably where the car was in that race.

“We know we’ve got a quick car, we’ve just got to make it last.”

See below for’s Hidden Valley Race Guide

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