Ford Performance Racing's Mark Winterbottom is certain there is some kryptonite to blunt the force of Jamie Whincup in the V8 Supercar Championship Series.
On a day when the King Hamad ibn Isa Al-Khalifa and Crown Prince Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa of Bahrain mingled openly with teams and drivers on the grid, Whincup stormed the field for the third straight time in the first race of the Gulf Air Desert 400 in Bahrain today.
With Winterbottom hanging in for second and Whincup's TeamVodafone partner Craig Lowndes third, Winterbottom believes his time will come after a second and a third in the opening Abu Dhabi round then a second in Bahrain.
“The day will come. At the moment we will keep tuning what we have got, keep bagging points, keep learning and when the time comes it will come quickly,” Winterbottom said.
“At the moment two seconds and a third is a great start. We are definitely stronger than we were at the start of last year so who knows? You can't control how well the other teams are going. Jamie is having a great run so to finish second when he is best on the day is all you can do.
“He is on top of his game in a team with the momentum they have got. I have the best engineer in pit lane so we will rattle heads and close the gap. I have got full faith that we can do the job.”
It was close to the perfect day for Whincup when he claimed Armor All pole position in the Armor All top ten shootout after being set a huge challenge firstly by Winterbottom and then SP Tools Racing's Shane Van Gisbergen.
“Of course every Championship win is special in its own way,” Whincup said. “Today was a great day for TeamVodafone and myself. Pole this morning was definitely one of my best. The pressure you have got going on to go out last to beat an already cracking lap is hard work.
“But still at the moment we are unsure, we are going into races unsure of how the car will perform and we take an educated guess. So far we have made the right calls but we will face our challenges during the year.
“I know this Championship is going to come down to two points at the end of the year, it always does.”