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PRODRIVE RACING – NEWCASTLE SUNDAY WRAP
While the conclusion of the 2017 Supercars season finished in thrilling fashion, Prodrive Racing (Australia)’s inaugural run at the Newcastle 500 was one to forget as a problematic Sunday compounded a frustrating Saturday to end the 14-round campaign on a sour note.
The Bottle-O racer Mark Winterbottom (#5 FG X) led the way for PRA with a seventh place finish in the season finale. Winterbottom scored the provisional pole in group qualifying Sunday morning, and later qualified fourth in the Top Ten Shootout before pit strategy worked against the veteran in the 95-lap race.
Sunday for Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy FG X) and Chaz Mostert (#55 Supercheap Auto) concluded with disappointing results, as Waters was dealt contact on Lap 52 that damaged the bent his steering, ultimately finishing 23rd off the lead lap. Mostert was handed a pit lane penalty on Lap 24 for crossing the yellow line at pit exit during his Lap 22 stop, and scrambled back to 15th at the chequered flag
Jason Bright’s final race as a full-time Supercars driver concluded in trying fashion when the 20-year veteran was caught in a Turn 1 melee on Lap 73, damaging the front of the #56 MEGA Fuels FG X. Bright lost four laps as the team repaired his Ford, en route to a 24th place finish.
Prodrive Racing and the rest of the Supercars field return to competition March 1-4, 2018, with the historic Adelaide 500.

DRIVERS’ VIEW
#5 The Bottle-O PRA Ford
Mark Winterbottom
Qualifying: 1st, 1m10.20s
Top Ten Shootout: 4th, 1m11.0
Race 26: 7th

“We had good pace, it’s just that the strategy didn’t play out for us the way it should have. We had cars coming out of pit lane and holding us up, and they cost you seconds and seconds. We had a car for probably third, but the strategy didn’t fall our way. Once we were back there it was just nose to tail to the end. We got P6 in the points, so it was good to move forward. Pretty good day overall, provisional pole, fourth in the shootout, so it’s a nice way to go into Christmas and starting towards next year.”

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#6 Monster Energy PRA Ford
Cameron Waters
Qualifying: 12th, 1m10.63s
Top Ten Shootout: n/a
Race 26: 23rd

“Overall looking at the positives, it was a much better year than last year. Eighth in the points, got a win, podiums, poles, so we ticked a lot of goals we wanted to at the beginning of the year, so that was cool. Today’s result was a pretty bad way to finish the year. Spent a lot of the day stuck behind slower cars, and in the final stint (Garth) Tander just moved over on me under brakes while I was trying to pass him and bent the steering arm. Not sure where he was expecting me to go, but it is what it is. Tough end to a very good year, and we’ll look to go better in 2018.”

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#55 Supercheap Auto PRA Ford
Chaz Mostert
Qualifying: 7th, 1m10.44s
Top Ten Shootout: 9th, 1m11.35s
Race 26: 15th

“Not our day at all today. It was good to get into the shootout, but we didn’t have the pace for pole. We were hoping to make some ground on pit strategy, but I clipped the yellow line exiting the pits and copped a penalty. After that it was about trying to pass cars which obviously is super hard here. Overall I’m happy with the year, P5 in the championship. It’s the best finish I’ve had in the championship to date, so I’m pretty pumped about that. Saying that, I want to win a championship, and I think we’ve got a lot of work to do in the offseason. Still, this year’s been leaps and bounds better than last year, and I can’t wait for 2018.”

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#56 MEGA Fuels PRA Ford
Jason Bright
Qualifying: 1st, 1m11.03s
Top Ten Shootout: n/a
Race 26: 24th

“We had a pretty bad first stint. I copped a bump from Simona and wasn’t comfortable on those tyres the rest of the stint. The first stint was long, but the second stint was strong, and we moved up a bit. I was pretty happy with the pace at that point, and the last stint everything was going all right until that restart. Everyone bottled up in front of me, cars were running into each other, and I ended up nailing Scott, and luckily we sort of got away with it to an extent. We had to come in to repair the front splitter, and from there we just went to finish the race.”
On concluding his full-time Supercars career: “I’m pretty emotional. I’m a pretty emotional guy as it is. I can’t say I’ve ever been that emotional in a race car before, but I’m really happy with my decision, and I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my career.”

Tim Edwards – Team Principal
“Another tough day all around for the team. Frosty drove well but that was about the only thing going for us today, even our Super2 teams had dramas. It’s not the way we wanted to end 2017, but at the same time we’ve made big strides over last season and expect to make more progress in the offseason. With a season like we’ve had a finish like we’ve had, we’re probably looking forward to 2018 as keenly as anyone in the paddock.”

DUNLOP SUPER2 SERIES
The Dunlop Super2 Series also concluded its 2017 campaign Sunday at Newcastle, and like their comrades in the main game, misfortune plagued the PRA duo of Garry Jacobson and Josh Kean. Having placed reasonably in qualifying, Jacobson was spun at Turn 11 early in the 20-lap race, leaving a close-behind Kean no room to get past and dropping both cars to the rear of the field. In the second half of the race, Kean suffered an apparent mechanical failure that forced him to retire from action. Jacobson recovered to finish 17th, and concludes his Super2 title defence with a sixth place run in the championship.

#1 MEGA Fuels PRA Ford
Garry Jacobson
Qualifying: 9th, 1m11.91s
Race 25: 17th

“Today didn’t go to plan, you’ve got to qualify well in any form of motorsport, and we sort of had the setup out of the window. I did my best, but when you start mid pack you can get tangled in stuff you shouldn’t, which is what happened today. It’s been a tricky year at times, we could get it right some days, and others I just couldn’t get in sync with the car. Still, I really admire the work the Prodrive team has put in, so a massive thanks to them. A massive thanks for giving me the opportunity to run the #1, I wore it with pride, and the opportunity to co-drive with Jason Bright in the enduros. It’s been a pretty special year for me, so I’m looking forward to the next step in my career.”

#5 Wynn’s Racing PRA Ford
Josh Kean
Qualifying: 11th, 1m12.08s
Race 25: DNF

“Not too good today. Garry got spun and I had nowhere to go, that sort of put us behind. Trying to get back through the field the car actually had quite a bit of pace, but just coming down the front straight something let go. I lost everything on my dash, the car made a hell of a noise, so I just pulled it over and parked it, and that’s all we could do, unfortunately. It hasn’t been the year that we had hoped for, but I’ll look back on the year and the positive takeaways that we’ve had from this season. It’s been a joy.”