Despite leaving the first round of the 2022 Supercar season as the championship leader Chaz Mostert is adamant Shane van Gisbergen remains the title favourite.
With a win in the final race of the weekend and a third in the opening race, Mostert took the championship lead for the first time in his career while van Gisbergen leaves the round third, 27 points behind the leader.
Mostert became the first driver not part of Triple Eight or Dick Johnson Racing to lead the championship since 2016.
Van Gisbergen minimised the points lost in the Sunday race fighting back to a sixth-place finish after starting the race 21st and being more than a lap down for part of the race.
Mostert spoke to Supercars about the championship fight after the race.
“It’s 25 drivers’ ultimate goal,” Mostert said when asked about his title hopes.
“I think the same guy that won last year is still the one to beat this year.
“We had two clean races this weekend… he was a lap down and somehow makes it back to sixth.
“He doesn’t have a bad day when it looks like he’s having a bad day.”
Van Gisbergen was dominant in the 2021 season, winning 14 of the 30 wins on the way to his second championship win.
The next round at Tasmania will see Mostert using orange car numbers for the first time, as he heads to round two with the points lead.
“I’ve got a new profile picture to take at the next round with the number colour change,” he quipped.
“First time ever leading… I’ve ticked that off the list. That’s pretty cool.
“There’s no secret today that the conditions ended up coming our way.
“Glad to get two trophies out of this weekend at a track where we struggled to get one over four weekends last year.
SMP was a tough track for Walkinshaw Andretti United last year but the series now heads to Symmons Plains, the location where Mostert took his first win for WAU.
The Supercars championship will get back out on track at Symmons Plains Tasmania March 26-27.
Main image: Mark Horsburgh