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WINTERBOTTOM GLAD TO BE BACK IN 2012

Mark WinterbottomAre you excited to be back into the season?

Yeah it’s always good, I guess we finished last year so strong and had a win so when you’re on a good roll with momentum you want to keep driving. Three or two months was probably a big gap when you’ve had a win so we’re looking forward to getting in. Christmas is great and you need the break but this is what we do, this is our enjoyment and our fun so two months of watching footage and getting excited all comes out today.

Are you chasing lap times or are you going to go out and test components and things?

We just do testing, it depends on what tyre you’ve got on as to what lap time you’re probably capable of doing. Everyone will have a new set of hard and a new set of soft tyres so at some point everyone will put their happy hour on and go and do a time but the object of the day is pretty well [to] get your set-ups. All the tools, the tools we’ve got in our shed, we have to make sure we know what they do and come Clipsal we need to know we’ve got the right tools to change the car, so that's the priority today, just to fine tune our car.

So you don't care about the time sheets at the end of the day at all?

Well we do have tyres that we’ll put on and do a time but it depends on what time of the day, track condition, there’s all these factors so if you’re purely just trying to win today you’ve probably got the wrong mindset, but there is a bit of ego boost to be quickest. At the end of the day if you do a time at 12 o’clock it will be slower than the time you can do at 4 or 5 o’clock, so that depends on when you do your time. And then if you use new tyres at 12 you get better testing throughout the day so ultimately not the best lap time but maybe the best outcome, so you have to weigh that up.

Are you at a point now in your career where every year your focus is the championship, that's your goal?

Yeah, every year anything less than that is not achieving what you set out to do, so Championship, Bathurst, and Clipsal and win every round is sort of what your focus is, but yeah its Championship and anything less than that we’re sort of not happy with.

And Sandown being an Enduro round again this year, is that a good thing? Are you happy about that?

I think this track works better as an enduro format, but I think it’s better on the hard tyre as well so it gets the control tyre and the enduro. And I think Phillip Island works better as a sprint race so I'm happy with the format and I think it works quite well. On the hard tyre it’s definitely better here where you can attack it, where the soft tyre, after ten laps it falls off a cliff and it sort of takes the fun away from what the track is, so I think it’s a better format.