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“The difference of a few tenths equates to several rows on the grid. And with such even competition it has a huge impact on your race results and, therefore, championship position,” writes Winterbottom.
“You have to know every corner so well because any slight mistake such as an early or late gear shift or missed braking point can prove costly.
“This is what makes Supercars so exciting for drivers and fans alike. And for us drivers it’s what drives us to work so hard on our fitness and understanding of the cars, so we can extract as much as possible from our performance on the day.
“It’s very easy to get drawn into gunning for one-lap qualifying pace with light fuel loads and green tyres, which we seem to be able to do easily. But to have a consistently quick car for long races has been a bit harder for us to achieve.
“Qualifying, though, is still so important as the evenness of the competition makes it difficult to gain positions in the race. We all tend to have the same strengths and weaknesses at the same sections of the track, which means we all just need a bit more race pace.
“With so many variables in play, such as track conditions, tyre life and more, it’s not an exact science.”
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