Mark Winterbottom and Ford Performance Racing have stamped their authority on the 2014 V8 Supercars Championship over recent weeks.
Winterbottom sits 101 points clear of Triple Eight rival Craig Lowndes at the top of the standings as the championship takes a five-week break.
The top spot on the table was captured at Pukekohe earlier this month, where Winterbottom took two of his three race wins to date.
Although still regularly without the fastest car in qualifying, the #5 Falcon has displayed a level of consistency critically lacking in previous campaigns; recording nine podiums, 12 top fives and 15 top 10s from the 16 championship races.
The squad appears to have put its long-running strategy issues and pitstop fumbles behind it, save for a questionable call that left Winterbottom third last time out at Barbagallo.
The team’s current form begs the question: Is this finally Winterbottom and FPR’s year to take a maiden V8 Supercars Championship title?
Winterbottom has served as one of the championship front-runners since he first became a factory driver in 2006.
He’s finished in the championship’s top five on each and every year since, placing second once (2008), third four times (2006, 2010, 2011, 2012), fourth once (2013) and fifth twice (2007 and 2009).
With a healthy lead nearing the year’s halfway point and long-time category benchmarks Triple Eight struggling for consistent form, it’s shaping as the factory Ford gun’s best shot yet at a title.
Is this Mark Winterbottom’s championship year? Cast your vote now on the poll below.