Alex Premat says he’s “not worried” about Scott McLaughlin’s Supercars title bid, despite the pair’s costly DNF at Bathurst last Sunday.
The Supercars title fight took a huge swing during the Bathurst race, with an engine failure while Premat was behind the wheel evaporating the 84-point advantage McLaughlin took into the Great Race.
While a similar failure for Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell limited the damage to some extent, a third place for Fabian Coulthard and Tony D’Alberto means Coulthard now has a 91-point lead in the standings.
Whincup is now second, with McLaughlin 97 points off Coulthard in third. With three rounds to go, there is still 900 points on offer.
Despite the swing in momentum towards Coulthard’s side of the DJRTP garage, Premat is still backing his co-driver McLaughlin to run down his teammate and win the 2017 title.
“It’s a pity, a DNF at Bathurst is pretty expensive,” Premat told Motorsport.com.
“It’s detrimental for the Enduro Cup and for Scott’s championship.
“However despite our misfortune we were lucky that Jamie had problems as well, and didn’t take that many points from us. Fabian Coulthard is always there, regularly scoring points, and in the end he’s the one on top of the standings.
“But I’m not worried about Scott. We’ll have two solid races at the Gold coast, and then he’ll finish the job in Pukekohe and Newcastle. He’s still in the race.”
For Coulthard it’s a return to the top of the standings, having led for eight rounds before being overhauled by McLaughlin mid-way through the season.
The Kiwi is playing down his title chances, however, saying he’ll wait until after the Gold Coast before he makes any bold statements.
“I think if you had sat me down before Bathurst and said we would leave here leading the championship, leading the Enduro Cup, we would have taken that with both hands,” said Coulthard.
“I think we just need to remain focused. There is still a few races left to go in the championship.
“I have always said I will evaluate my championship after the Enduro Cup.
”Everyone is going to have a bad event. I have had my bad one, hopefully I can have a little bit of smooth sailing between now and the rest of the year and be in contention.
“That is all we can hope for, but we have got good enough guys, and good enough equipment to do that. Hopefully we can leave the results to speak for themselves on the track.”
Additional reporting by Emmanuel Rolland