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What brought Waters undone in Bathurst opener

A SLICE of bad luck, a whack to the rear and a broken spindle combined to make day one of Cam Waters’ 2024 Supercars title tilt one to forget.

Tabbed as a championship favourite, Waters and his streamlined Tickford Racing team have been surprisingly circumspect at Mount Panorama.

Waters was 23rd in opening practice as Tickford concentrated on race pace; he was sixth in final Friday practice, before qualifying just 20th yesterday.

But unlike fellow Ford squad Dick Johnson Racing which is simply struggling for pace, Tickford had much more up its sleeve with team manager Matty Roberts revealing Waters was hampered by late yellow flags in qualifying while Thomas Randle left time on the table.

Cam Waters in action. Pic: Nathan Wong

“Qualifying took a bit for the car to turn on but he (Waters) was on for probably P3 but obviously when (Matt) Payne went off at the last corner they threw all of the yellows out and he had to abort the lap,” Roberts told V8 Sleuth.

“Unfortunately we hadn’t put a good enough time down earlier in the session – that’s our fault for not having the car in the window, but he was certainly on for a top three at the end.”

That changed the course of their day, which would go from bad to worse.

“Then at the start of the race, when you’re starting back in the pack you’re vulnerable and he copped a fair bit of damage in the rear,” Roberts continued regarding Waters.

Cam Waters’ Monster Mustang towards the rear of the starting grid. Pic: Supplied

“All the diffuser and rear bars are all hanging down about 300mm so it’s a big parachute down the two biggest straights in the country.”

Waters’ #6 Monster Energy Mustang then shed a wheel in the closing stages, Roberts expressing frustration in pointing to it being a category issue, mimicking an Erebus Motorsport ride day incident from last year.

“So what Barry Ryan had last year at Sandown on Brodie (Kostecki)’s car when the spindle broke in half, it’s broken in pretty much the exact same spot,” he explained.

“It’s a direct replica of the break. It’s about halfway down the thread and it just basically exploded the upright.”

That aside, it’s not panic stations at Tickford despite a slow start to the season.

“We’re not throwing the baby out of the bath water at the moment,” said Roberts.

“It’s really hard to move forward in those short strategy races so hopefully we qualify better tomorrow. We know we have got good speed, we know what we need to do.”

Randle finished 14th in Race 1, won by Broc Feeney.

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