Long layoffs take away from Supercars Championship momentum.
The midpoint of the 2017 Supercars championship may have been crossed heading into this weekend’s Ipswich SuperSprint, but it remains a challenge as to determine who the momentum lies with for the title tilt.
351-points separate the top five in the Supercars standings, with seven rounds and twelve races remaining in the championship – including the crucial season of endurance in the coming months.
Scott McLaughlin heads the six-time series champ in Jamie Whincup, as their teammates Fabian Coulthard and Shane van Gisbergen trail by small margins. Chaz Mostert currently flies the flag for Prodrive in fifth.
While the young Kiwi in McLaughlin can be seen as the form driver on paper, with his immaculate record of five wins from nine pole positions in 2017, it really is a matter of who is well equipped for each individual weekend.
Whincup, who was winless up until Race 14 in Townsville, has been on the podium in ten of the fourteen races contested thus far and has been the role-model for consistency in this championship.
A shocking run at the Townsville 400 for Coulthard, highlighted how quickly can one go from leading the standings, to conceding positions. The same sentiment applies to Van Gisbergen, who went six races with only a best result of sixth.
With a near monthlong layoff approaching between Queensland Raceway and the next sprint event at Sydney Motorsport Park, avoiding mistakes will be critical – as will accumulating the maximum available points.
Such big gaps between the next three events does almost eradicate any momentum gained, while across the first five weekends there was a consistent schedule and it was more distinguishable where the form lay.
It is arguable that the spacing between the events since Darwin, has taken away the intensity which in this middle portion of the season, is important.
The ideal championship picture now, will not likely form until the key races at Sandown and Bathurst, where 300-points are on offer per race and the margin for errors are greater – with co-drivers being factored in with the lengthened races.
As fickle as this title race has been in the sprint rounds contested so far, any losses can be recovered during the endurance campaign – or conversely, a bad run in the enduros could destroy any driver’s championship aspirations.
Though in the build up to the Sandown 500 in September, the next two events at Ipswich and Eastern Creek seem rather redundant, unless they were contested in quick succession.
Ultimately, whatever the outcome is this weekend at Queensland Raceway, it may prove no substantial loss – with the decisive events on the horizon.
via : theroar.com.au