Edwards: Best showed skills beyond his years

Zak Best

Tickford Racing boss Tim Edwards believes wildcard Zak Best has left his mark on the Supercars field at Bend Motorsport Park.

Best’s second main solo game round was not a typical wild card appearance, with the 20-year-old stunning the field by claiming pole position on Saturday.

He then led the first 10 laps of Race 21 before slipping from second to fifth in the pit stop cycle where he would finish.

Even race winner Shane van Gisbergen praised the young Tickford driver, calling Best “star of the day”.

While the performance caused controversy due to a discrepancy in the tire batches issued to the two wildcards, it was Best’s racecraft that stood out over Edwards.

“Supercars are what he dreamed of in his career as an individual,” Edwards told Speedcafe.com.

“That’s exactly what he had to do. [on Saturday] and I think he made himself proud in the race.

“He was racing the legends of the sport, the best drivers in this country and he was proud of him.

“He wasn’t doing anything stupid, he was going off the track; he just drove like he had been racing with them for 10 years.

It was in qualifying on Sunday that Best shone again, with the Benalla driver taking seventh place at the start of Race 23.

This was not rewarded due to a retirement with a wiper motor problem at the end of the weekend in the rain, after finishing 19th in Race 22 earlier in the day.

His Tickford Racing teammate Cameron Waters believes Best proved himself with his performance on Sunday despite the tire controversy that had dogged him since the day before.

“I think he would be pretty happy with himself this weekend,” Waters enthused.

“Obviously there was the debate about the tire lots and everything that was going on, but [Sunday] he bounced back.

“He qualified seventh for that second race, which kind of put all the haters at ease, so that was cool for him.

“I think he learned a lot from Darwin over the weekend. He really stepped up and did an amazing job and not just him but the whole Tickford wildcard team did a really good job.

Round nine of the Repco Supercars Championship is the Penrite Oil Sandown SuperSprint (August 19-21) where Best will also be back in the Dunlop Super2 series.

Valerie J. Wallis