2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

Prodrive Racing (Australia) has experienced a mixed day at the Australian Grand Prix with varying situations playing out across the two, 13 lap races.

The weekend’s opening race saw all four cars improve on position following the rolling start, with three cars in the top 10 after the first lap. Mostert held onto third place for the majority of the race, pleased with the car’s ability to keep up with the leading challengers. Drama ensued for both Cameron Waters and Jason Bright in the final stages of the race with both cars taken for a spin, causing them to fall to the rear of the field. Mark Winterbottom enjoyed a consistent and trouble-free race, moving up four spots to finish eighth.

Jason Bright was one of the top improvers in race two, moving from 20th to finish 13th. Mark Winterbottom also improved eight spots on the opening lap of the race, moving to eighth before finishing race two in sixth. Despite their strong performances, both Winterbottom and Bright believe there are still aspects of their car setup that can be improved. Cameron Waters credited setup changes made between races for a better car in race two where he was able to compete with those around him. Running in seventh for most of the race, Waters was passed at the last moment to finish eighth. Chaz Mostert received a pit lane penalty in race two following contact in a racing incident with Shane van Gisbergen. After running in sixth place, Mostert finished the race in 19th.

2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
DRIVERS’ VIEW
Mark Winterbottom – #5 The Bottle-O PRA Ford:
Race 1: 8th
Race 2: 6th
“Finishing sixth after starting 16th is a pretty good day. The car is straight; we’re making improvements but we still need to do some work in areas. Braking is almost fixed but is still a drama for us but we’ll get on top of that. A good day, good progress and we’re getting there.”

2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
Cameron Waters – #6 Monster Energy PRA Ford:
Race 1: 19th
Race 2: 8th
“We missed the setup by a fair way in race one I think. The car was really good for five laps but then dropped away and I got turned around by (Scott) Pye so that was pretty average. We changed the car a lot for race two and it was a heap better so we ran seventh but Whincup got me right at the end in a drag race. A lot better in race two but we’re still got a bit of work to do. Moving forward which is good.”

2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
Chaz Mostert – #55 Supercheap Auto PRA Ford:
Race 1: 3rd
Race 2: 19th
“Didn’t finish the day off as planned. I had an okay start but then got bomb-dived down into turn one and it was going to be messy if we didn’t split so I went onto the astroturf and lost a heap of spots, I shouldn’t have been that far back but I battled away. I think I had speed on a couple of the cars in front. I was battling away and thought I had a good enough run, had a go into the second last corner and went in there but it started to tighten up so tried getting out late and tried to pull the car up but just tagged the side of Shane (van Gisbergen) and he’s looped it. Not ideal racing and not ideal for our team to get a penalty but obviously you don’t want to see any other cars get damaged out there either. Learning a lot this weekend and we’ll keep learning and taking it on to the next one. Race one was good. To get third was pretty cool but this weekend is all about building momentum and making our cars better and better.”

2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

Jason Bright – #56 MEGA Bulk Fuels PRA Ford:
Race 1: 21st
Race 2: 13th
“We were much better than what we were in the first race. The tyres hung in a lot better and we were able to race a few guys. We’ll try a few more things for tomorrow. We’ve sort of got the ability to try a few things out and we’re starting in the same position as we did today so we can get a feel for what we do. I’m pretty happy with the car. I still feel like there’s a bit to gain if we can get it to rotate a bit better on some of the tighter corners but it’s a long way forward compared to where we were this morning.”

Tim Edwards – Team Principal:
“Great to get in the top three in the first race. We’ve got some pace in these cars and I think it’s evident out on the track. I’m really pleased with the improvements made across all four cars overnight and the drivers are much happier with where we are now compared to where we started the weekend. I was a bit disappointed and confused as to how Chaz’s incident was adjudicated. I thought they did they right thing in Adelaide leaving it to a post-race investigation for when they had all of the in-car footage but they seemed to rush it through today. More upset about the process rather than the outcome. The main thing for us is that we’re making good headway with the car.”

RESULTS
RACE 1
1) Scott McLaughlin – DJR Team Penske
2) Fabian Coulthard – DJR Team Penske
3) Chaz Mostert – Supercheap Auto Racing
4) Jamie Whincup – Triple Eight
5) Michael Caruso – Nissan Motorsport
8) Mark Winterbottom – The Bottle-O Racing Team
19) Cameron Waters – Monster Energy Racing
21) Jason Bright – MEGA Racing

RACE 2
1) Fabian Coulthard – DJR Team Penske
2) Scott McLaughlin – DJR Team Penske
3) Michael Caruso – Nissan Motorsport
4) Garth Tander – GRM
5) Will Davison – Tekno
6) Mark Winterbottom – The Bottle-O Racing Team
8) Cameron Waters – Monster Energy Racing
13) Jason Bright – MEGA Racing
19) Chaz Mostert – Supercheap Auto Racing