Edwards: Waters’ Townsville win ‘one of his best drives’

Cameron Waters celebrated his third win of 2021 in style. Picture: Daniel Kalisz

Tickford Racing boss Tim Edwards says Cameron Waters’ defensive drive to hold off Shane van Gisbergen in Race 19 at the Townsville SuperSprint was one of his best.

Having started from pole position, the Monster Energy Racing driver relinquished the lead on Lap 5 at the final corner after a late lunge from the Kiwi.

However, the 26-year-old would make his way back to the top spot courtesy of going one lap longer as the Safety Car was deployed on Lap 18, overcutting van Gisbergen.

Waters was resilient in the closing stages of the 39-lapper, outsmarting moves made by the Red Bull Ampol Racing driver as he sought to find a way through.

Ultimately, Waters would hold on to win the final race of the weekend which team principal Edwards said was mightily impressive.

“That’s definitely one of his best drives,” Edwards told Speedcafe.com.

“He kind of did the same thing at Tailem Bend earlier this year. Gizzy tried to pass him into Turn 1 where he had been passing everyone else and Cam said ‘no, you’re not’ and fought him for it. He did the same again today but obviously for a lot more laps than he did then but it’s good.

“He’s not intimidated. There’s plenty of people who sort of, I wouldn’t say wave him past, but don’t put up a fight. Cam was putting the car exactly where he needed to all around the circuit to make it difficult for Shane.”

Cameron Waters claimed two wins from three races at the Townsville SuperSprint. Picture: Mark Horsburgh

Waters’ latest run of form has seen him surge to third in the drivers’ championship, albeit 412 points in arrears of runaway leader van Gisbergen whose nearest rival remains team-mate Jamie Whincup, 276 points adrift.

Last year’s Bathurst 1000 winner has been ‘Mr Consistent’ this season, winning 11 of the 19 races to date and finishing just once outside the top 10.

While Waters’ two wins have put him back into the frame for a championship challenge, Edwards admitted there is still work to be done.

Nevertheless, the team boss said it was gratifying to score two wins having been well adrift of the podium one weekend earlier.

Such was the deficit to van Gisbergen at the Townsville 500 that eighth placed Waters was lapped in Race 15.

“Generally what you run is an iteration of what you’ve engineered over a prolonged period and you’re just refining, refining, refining,” Edwards explained.

“So to take a different approach in the quest to learn, and actually find some good gains, doesn’t happen very often.

“The car is still not where we want it to be,” he said of the team’s Ford Mustangs.

“We didn’t qualify as well as we would have liked to in the first race today. Once you get buried in the pack, it’s difficult.

“You saw the same thing happen to Jamie [Whincup] in that race, he pretty much got buried where he started and didn’t make any inroads.

“It’s been the same with Scotty [McLaughlin], he’s demonstrated that for the last few years – if you’re at the front, you get to run in clean air and you can actually do your lap times and keep control of the temperatures of the car yourself because you are running at the front.

“We have just got to make sure we consistently qualify at the front, which Cam – on balance – is generally up there.”

Cameron Waters monsters the kerbs at Turn 8. Picture: Daniel Kalisz

Edwards also credited the efforts of Waters’ usual engineer Sam Potter, who couldn’t attend the second Townsville event due to foot surgery – the team’s chief engineer Nathaniel Osborne standing in.

Despite his surgery, Potter spent much of the lead-up working on find a way to improve the #6 Ford Mustang before going under the knife.

“We took a big swing at it this weekend,” said Edwards.

“We got trounced last weekend and we went home with our tail between our legs but rather than just sulk about it, the engineers have been in the office all week literally going through everything.

“Pottsy did the set-up sheet before he went under the knife as to the new direction and really Ozzie has turned up here and he’s run with it and tuned it up.

“But it is radically different to what we have run in the past. We were prepared to come here and potentially go backwards if it meant we were going to move forwards and it’s worked well for us from the outset really.”

The Repco Supercars Championship is slated to resume at Queensland Raceway on August 21-22.

The leading Tickford Racing pair of Waters and James Courtney currently have the squad sitting third in the teams’ championship behind Triple Eight Race Engineering and Dick Johnson Racing.

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