Big crash not a worry for Ford star Chaz Mostert
Prodrive Racing Australia young gun Chaz Mostert is adamant the horrific crash he endured at last year's Bathurst 1000 has not been the reason for an inconsistent start to this year's Supercars Championship.
The 24-year-old Ford star suffered a fractured leg and wrist after totalling his car at the top of the mountain during qualifying, ruling him out for the remainder of 2015.
Before that race the 2014 Bathurst champion was second in the championship standings and talked up as the next big thing in racing.
He is still seen as a future superstar, but after nine races back behind the wheel this year, Mostert is languishing in 12th.
Despite still walking around with a limp because of the high-speed collision, the Gold Coast resident said last year's spectacular accident had nothing to do with his slow start to 2016.
"This year everyone has stepped up and the competition is even better," Mostert told Australian Regional Media.
"You can have a great day and only finish fifth or sixth - it takes an excellent day to finish on the podium.
"Mentally I feel fine and physically I'm close to 100%.
"The first three months after an accident like that are always the hardest - it was a bit of a downer for me at times.
"You hope something like that never happens again, but if it does you know you'll be stronger for it next time."
Mostert has a good opportunity to claw some ground back in the championship at the Winton SuperSprint in country Victoria this weekend.
He performed well there last year, winning on Saturday while racking up a hat-trick of pole positions.
But on the Sunday he smashed into a wall after blasting his way past teammate Mark Winterbottom to win back an early lead.
Mostert said a brand new surface at Winton meant he needed to wipe his memory of last year's performances there.
"It's totally different with the re-surface this time around so there are no expectations," he said.
"The grip will be better and all the times will be faster so I'll be trying to get a feel for the new conditions."
After admitting "driver error" cost him at the Perth SuperSprint, where he finished 12th and sixth last round, Mostert said he was still learning how to balance his aggressive driving with being conservative when the need arises.
"Last year in qualifying I did really well by being aggressive and sometimes you'll get away with it in a race," he said.
"I'm working on trying to be more consistent - when to be aggressive and when to relax.
"It's all a learning curve for me right now."