Tasmania has been a place full of memories for Supercars veteran Mark Winterbottom.
Last season was the first since 2004 that the 39-year-old hadn't visited Symmons Plains for Supercars action, having claimed a race victory at the track in 2010 and Team 18's inaugural pole position in 2019.
Describing it as the highlight of his time at the team he joined that season, Winterbottom is out to do it again when the Supercars return to the track on Saturday, April 17.
"I was a bit emotional to get pole because we'd been trying hard and building this team and I'd only just joined and all that side of it," he said.
ELSEWHERE IN SPORT
"I find Tassie's been really good to me but I find it a tough place for qualifying because [it's a] short lap, [you] have to get every corner right and all that sort of side.
"I'd love to do it again, it's a great milestone - pole position - and I'd love to get another one.
"We didn't go there last year, so going off previous record two years ago, we were good enough for pole. Fingers crossed as it's always the plan but unfortunately 23 other drivers have the same plan."
Amazingly, Holden's Winterbottom has finished each of the 40 races he has started at the Tasmanian track, finishing in the top 10 a whopping 30 times despite only the one race win.
The man affectionately known as 'Frosty' has started 2021 well, sitting fifth in the drivers' championship as he heads down to the Apple Isle.
He's 194 points in arrears of Shane van Gisbergen, who has equaled the feats of Allan Moffat, Mark Skaife and Peter Brock by winning the first five races of the season.
"Tassie is a hard place to win because pit strategy and all that side of it can be quite crucial as well as slipstreaming and it's the ultimate game of chess having the car in the right place at the right time," Winterbottom said.
"There's a bit of tyre degradation, when you pit you can come out behind cars that haven't pitted, brake fade ... all these things come in.
"It's a very tough place to win, I've done it before so it's possible but a very tough place to win."
On the track, he described the first-corner hairpin as one of the country's best spectating spots but off-track Winterbottom loves Launceston and will spend some time around the state with his wife Renee.
"Having kids and young kids as well, I like going down to the [City] park and seeing the monkeys in the middle of the park," he said.
"Tasmania has got a lot of things that people don't know about and it's a free thing to do, it's like going to the zoo for free - it's a great little set-up.
"And then walking around the Gorge, I think it's just a beautiful spot.
"It's cold so we rug up but it is one of the best spots to go. People who haven't been to Tassie should get down there, it's not only a great race but a great place to visit and to have a holiday."
- Shane van Gisbergen (Holden) - 605 points
- Jamie Whincup (Holden) - 455
- Chaz Mostert (Holden) - 442
- Cameron Waters (Ford) - 435
- Mark Winterbottom (Holden) - 411