Qualifying vital for Tickford fleet to avoid ‘questionable drivers’

The battered Snowy River Caravans Mustang of James Courtney. Picture: Ross Gibb

Tickford Racing CEO Tim Edwards has doubled down on wildcard rookie Zak Best’s claims about the rear-of-grid driving standards – but says his team simply must qualify better to steer clear of mayhem.

It was a successful Darwin Triple Crown for two of Tickford’s expanded five-fold fleet, with Cameron Waters winning Race 17 from pole and collecting a podium in Race 18, while Jake Kostecki flew under the radar with two 11ths and an eighth.

However, there was plenty of damage sustained on the Mustangs of Best, James Courtney and Thomas Randle.

The latter two were wiped out in the pile-up that drew red flags in Race 17, while Best’s last race was ended by an incident with Garry Jacobson, who would be penalised for the run-in.

Courtney and Best also picked up damage in Friday practice and Sunday qualifying, respectively.

Edwards hailed the “herculean effort” of the crew to repair Courtney’s car in time for the finale, and made the observation about needing to qualify better in two separate passages of quotes upon the weekend’s completion.

“When you don’t qualify well, you race with some questionable drivers, and you often come out second best,” he said.

In a separate release, Edwards noted: “JC, Zak, and Thomas all had rough races, but each of those you can put down to qualifying.

“When you’re back with the squirrels, you’re bound to have your nuts cracked, and they each learned that at some point or another this weekend.”

Best had commented that the racing level down the back was Super2-esque and that “obviously they don’t like the new guy coming into the category”.

Edwards did reserve praise for fellow youngster Kostecki, whose form aboard the #56 Tradie Mustang has been on the rise ever since finding his feet at the Perth SuperNight.

“We’ve known he’s had that competitiveness in him all year, but it’s really positive to see them put a full, solid weekend together, and it’ll be great boost of confidence for that whole crew,” he noted.

The next stop on the Repco Supercars Championship calendar is the NTI Townsville 500 – an event which Waters won two races at in 2021 – on July 8-10.

Jake Kostecki enjoyed a solid Darwin Triple Crown. Picture: Mark Horsburgh

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