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Waters: Step backwards helped Tickford

CAM Waters believes Tickford Racing could mount a better challenge for the 2022 Repco Supercars Championship if the season now started over.

Shane van Gisbergen and Triple Eight Race Engineering have been utterly dominant, winning a record 21 races this year – and still with two more up for grabs.

Waters enters the season-ending Adelaide 500 with a firm grip on the runner-up mantle, which is a fine effort in itself given how poorly Tickford started the year.

By the end of three rounds and nine races, things looked dire for the Ford squad.

At that stage, it was barely hanging onto fifth in the championship and had recorded just one podium between its four cars. Waters was down in seventh in the drivers’ points, with teammates James Courtney 14th, Thomas Randle 23rd and Jake Kostecki 24th.

Progress came at Perth, where a controversial penalty denied Waters victory, and from Winton onwards he has been on the podium more often than not; consistency not necessarily having been a strength of Tickford’s in recent years.

The Monster Energy Mustang driver in fact is on a 25-race streak of top 10 finishes, which outranks even van Gisbergen.

“I’m definitely happy with how we turned the year around,” Waters told V8 Sleuth.

“We probably had to take a step backwards to take two steps forward and I think that’s what we did at the start of the year coming off the Eastern Creeks where we got our arses handed to us.

“We really had to think about what we were doing and as a team we did a great job to turn that around, so super proud of everyone to be able to do that at Tickford.

“We’ve been able to rock up at most tracks this year and go for a podium or a race win, so that has been great.

“I feel like we’re at a point now where we understand the car quite a lot more and are in a lot better position.

“We’re a lot more consistent so I guess if we started the year again now, it would probably be a closer fight but it is what it is and we’ll just take those positives and those strengths into next year with Gen3.”

Waters admits that Gen3 will be a challenge in the sense of overcoming the intrinsic advantage he feels homologation teams will have.

“I think T8 and DJR are going to have an advantage to start the year for sure,” he said.

“They’ve built the cars and they know everything about them.

“They’re in their sims, they have got their own stuff already, so yeah they have got an advantage but we will just work in other areas to make sure we’re ready and hit the ground running by the time we go testing. It’s not the be all and end all.”

As confirmed this week, team testing of Gen3 cars will begin in late January.

Meanwhile, Waters can put second in the 2022 championship beyond doubt by scoring 126 or more points across the upcoming Adelaide 500 on December 1-4.

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