Waters hails Tickford crew after turning crashed car into race winner

Cameron Waters

Cameron Waters has given “massive credit” to his Tickford Racing crew after turning a busted-up Mustang into a race winner in less than three hours.

The right-rear corner was virtually ripped from the #6 Monster Energy Mustang when Waters copped a hit from Chaz Mostert in an opening lap melee in Race 10 of the Repco Supercars Championship at The Bend.

Tickford fell just shy of getting the car to a state such that he could head back out and complete the 75 percent of race distance needed to be classified a finisher in that contest and scrounge some points.

However, he was able to convert a second row start into his first victory of the season in Race 11, which brought down the curtain on the OTR SuperSprint weekend.

“[I am] A lot happier than I was after the first race this morning,” said Waters.

“Didn’t really think I’d be up here after seeing all the damage on the car after the crash, so, massive credit to the boys for fixing it.

“It was pretty bad and they gave me a fast, straight car.”

Despite how rapid the repair job was, the 26-year-old had no concerns about the mechanical integrity of his Mustang as he headed out for Race 11.

There was a question mark about whether the set-up was good enough, but that answer would be very much the affirmative.

Waters cops the hit from Chaz Mostert in Race 10 Picture: Fox Sports

“I was pretty confident,” recalled Waters.

“I’ve got really good guys on my car and I’ve got a good team around me. They went over absolutely everything – I had the 44 boys [team-mate James Courtney’s crew] on my car a little bit as well once they’d finished their work – so the car was straight, it had been on the patch, they’d checked everything.

“It was more about if our set-up was good enough at that point because we’d just lost a whole race of data, so we just kind of took a swing at it, a calculated guess, and it was fast.”

Last year’s Bathurst 1000 pole-sitter came under pressure from Shane van Gisbergen when the championship leader exited the pits for his final, nine-lap run home.

Van Gisbergen made one obvious attempt at a pass, a lap into the stint at Turn 1, but Waters held firm.

“It was good; obviously better being in my seat than his seat,” was the Tickford pilot’s assessment of the battle.

“But, I had a really good car, [which] looked after its tyres.

“Shane had different strengths to me – obviously I put rears on, he put left sides [tyres] – so there were a few corners where he had a bit over me.

“But, I just made sure that he was close enough to me through those quick corners to make sure he got a bit of aero wash and heat those tyres up, and managed to save it.”

Waters slipped from fourth to fifth in the championship over the course of the weekend and is now 264 points behind van Gisbergen, having left the previous event at Symmons Plains 202 in arrears.

The 2015 Super2 Series winner says he is focusing on improving his race car, rather than focusing on the title race.

“I’m just thinking what we need to make our car faster across a race distance,” he explained.

“We can qualify already and if you’re fast in the races, that really sets up your weekends and you can be up the front and fighting for wins, week-in, week-out.

“If we’re doing that, then the championship will look after itself.

“Obviously, I’ve had a little bit of bad luck, Shane hasn’t had much yet – hopefully has a little bit – but at the same time, it’s cool to have days like today when you can go head-to-head with him and have a really cool battle.”

Tickford Racing is set to test at Winton before the rural Victorian circuit hosts the next race event on May 29-30, an opportunity which Waters is looking forward to.

“There were obviously a few things that were highlighted, that we need to improve,” he remarked.

“We’ve got a lot going on at the moment to get ready for the test day, so really excited to get there, try a few things, and then obviously there’s the round straight after it, so hopefully we can find a few things.”

Waters now has three Supercars Championship race wins to his name, the first being the 2017 Sandown 500 and the second coming at The Bend last year, in the event held on the West Circuit.

His latest triumph made for a Ford sweep of the event, after Kelly Grove Racing’s Andre Heimgartner won on the Saturday and Dick Johnson Racing’s Anton De Pasquale prevailed in Race 10.

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