It looks as though a loose or broken fuel line fitting is all that stands in the way of parity war or peace.
Whilst Team 18 and Mark Winterbottom will probably, and completely understandably, disagree with me, the Sport would have benefitted hugely if that fitting hadn't failed.
Like in Tasmania, Cam Waters showed that he's very capable of putting a Ford Mustang on the front row of a Gen3 grid. And not only did he claim the Race 13 pole, but he was also the only driver to dip into the 65s, something he did twice in that session.
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Bear in mind that this followed on from a pretty dominant Friday for the Mustangs. Four Fords in the top five including first and second didn't give the appearance of parity issues. As was to be repeated through the three qualifying sessions, the entire grid was covered by six tenths or so. The sort of margins that other major road racing categories around the world would kill for, in other words.
Quite why the Ford teams appeared unable to reproduce the Friday and Saturday form on Sunday is a complete mystery to me. Only Supercars has all the data. If there is some deficiency, then it must surely be apparent by now on the data. If there isn't one, then call out the teams and tell them to do a better job. Be transparent for the sake of all concerned.
Race 13 on Saturday saw Cam sprint away from the field for three laps before disaster struck. The only upside from that frightening fire was the remarkable rebuild of the #6 car overnight. Only those who have been in team land in those situations truly know how much work and effort went into having that car ready to roll out on Sunday morning. Well done.
But the fire was a bloody nuisance for more than just the unfortunate Cam and his crew. A win would have been deserved and hopefully quietened down the non-performing Ford teams. It would have benefitted the Sport.
But there's only so much that Supercars can do. You can lead a Mustang to water…
Cam showed how close he is to drinking it. It will happen, and hopefully for him.
In other news… the win for Team 18 and Mark Winterbottom was fully deserved despite what I've written above. It was only fortuitous in the way that any win is when a leading car has an issue.
And when Matt Stone Racing and Jack Le Brocq won on Sunday, that made it two first-time team winners for the weekend. Isn't that a massive validation of Gen3? Giving a broader range of teams the opportunity to win was an objective from the start.
So, hearing the comments from some other teams to the effect that these upstart organisations have no right to beat teams that finished at the higher end of the teams championship last year is disappointing.
The other box that was ticked for Gen3 at the weekend was the unpredictability of qualifying. There's no doubt that these cars are tricky to drive at the absolute limit and any slight slip in terms of driving, set-up, or tyre preparation can be the difference between the front and the back of the grid.
Hence, we witnessed some shuffling of the pack over the course of the event, and that was an objective for Gen3. Three different race winners and six different drivers across the nine podium positions.
There were some other notable positives from Darwin for me.
Firstly, almost every team rose to the occasion with excellent Indigenous-themed liveries for the event. Not only did they look outstanding, but they also had different stories behind them and were well thought through. Some fans won't appreciate the amount of work that goes into livery changes like these. Not only the cars themselves have to be re-wrapped, but also all the relevant spare body panels. And then that all needs to be reversed post event. Big tick.
Secondly, whoever produced the technical report on Saturday evening from Supercars to the teams concerning the Car #6 fire needs a big pat on the back. I hope he or she gets just that from the teams and Supercars management. It was an excellent piece of work at very short notice and demonstrated transparency at its best.
Finally, the vision showed just how well the Hidden Valley circuit is prepared each year for Supercars by the NT government. It looked outstanding and was a beautifully green oasis in a harsh environment. Superb.
It could all have been such a stellar validation for Gen3 if only for a $10 fitting…