2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

Prodrive Racing (Australia)’s Chaz Mostert has claimed his third consecutive podium with second in a wild opening race at Sydney Motorsport Park.

Mostert qualified in the back end of the top 10 but a combination of strong late race tyre life and avoiding a race-changing incident after the safety car restart saw him claim another strong result. He was nearly joined on the podium by Mark Winterbottom who after a front row qualifying effort came home fourth.

He nursed a degrading right front tyre while leading but ultimately did not have the pace and was then delayed by traffic in pit lane during his only stop.

Jason Bright and Cameron Waters endured mixed fortunes with Bright recovering from a turn one incident on lap one which saw him spin a full 360-degree loop following contact from Will Davison. He then set about rebuilding his race and moved from 23rd to 14th by race end.

Waters suffered the most with what he expects is an issue with his car. He struggled to turn and suffered significant tyre degradation and the team will investigate further tonight.

DRIVERS’ VIEW
Mark Winterbottom – #5 The Bottle-O PRA Ford:
Qualifying: 2nd – 1m28.53s
Race 17: 4th
“I made a good start and was pretty confident I could lead into turn one. We got away as I wanted but from lap one the right-front tyre felt like it was going to take a lot of punishment, the degradation here is quite aggressive. I was trying to really conserve it while maintain position but it started to peel off and that was it. We got held in the stop for quite a long time and it put us into a bit of a mess. On the restart there was contact and I got spat wide. There were a few negatives but we need to make the right-front more kind to us. We’ve made gains – it is a good for one lap and there is work to do on the race car. You don’t fix everything on one day but so far we are going well.”

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Cameron Waters – #6 Monster Energy PRA Ford:
Qualifying: 12th – 1m29.10s
Race 17: 20th
“The car was not too bad in qualifying – I just didn’t quite maximise it. I ran over the timing loop at turn five which deleted by best time and left me down the field when I should’ve been around sixth on the grid. We made a few changes for the race and it was okay for the first few laps but I think I damaged or broke something as the car had no tyre life and I couldn’t turn it properly. I am thinking there is something wrong so we’ll go over the data tonight and get the engineers to look over it.”

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Chaz Mostert – #55 Supercheap Auto PRA Ford:
Qualifying: 7th – 1m28.87s
Race 17: 2nd
“It is great to get on the podium again and spray some champagne with the team. Our race didn’t really kick off until the restart which was mayhem. We always struggle here with our safety car restarts and the overlapping today and the setting sun made it pretty tricky. There were seven or eight cars that no doubt had a bit of contact on the restart and while it was pretty crazy and it worked out okay for us. The tyre life was good late in the race but we struggled with a bit of turn today so we need to look into that and see what we can do tomorrow.”

Jason Bright – #56 MEGA Fuels PRA Ford:
Qualifying: 16th – 1m29.35s
Race 17: 14th
“I made a really great start and got passed the cars on the row in front of me. Looking at the replay Will (Davison) and (James) Courtney bumped together and got into my rear which turned me around. Thankfully nobody hit me as it would’ve been a big hit as I was basically stationary in the end. There was a fair bit of smoke! We were lucky to get through that and the first stint was awful. I felt like we damaged the tyres pretty badly with the spin so I was pretty keen to get off that set of tyres. We came in early and it worked out for us. We made up track position and the car hung in pretty well but we only got back to where we started.”

2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

Tim Edwards – Team Principal:
“It was a stronger result today for both Chaz and Mark and it is great to be on the podium again today for the third-straight race. We have work to do as neither Chaz nor Mark had the tyre life for the ultimate pace, but both feel they’ve made gains. Jason and Cam had a tougher day but at least in Jason’s case he recovered from an incident out of his control. Cam had a strange day so we’ll do a thorough investigation overnight to determine what went wrong. Overall we have made gains but Sunday’s longer race will be another test.”

 
DUNLOP SUPER2 SERIES
Prodrive Racing (Australia)’s Garry Jacobson and Richie Stanaway both ran strongly at the front of the Super2 field in today’s two race, with Stanaway third overall for the round, once place ahead of his team-mate with one race to come. Stanaway started two places lower for race two following an overnight penalty, while Jacobson endured the same fate for race three due to his own penalty. Fellow PRA driver Josh Kean has endured another tough day with 15th in the opening Saturday race followed by a DNF in the second following contact at turn two at the start of the race.

Garry Jacobson – #1 MEGA Fuels PRA Ford:
Race 2: 3rd
Race 3: 5th
“We had cleaner starts all round today which helped but I still had a fight on my hands. We had a great battle with Richie in the opening race and while we had a penalty for the second race, we were still in the mix and will keep chipping away. It is my final race before the Enduro Cup starts so I will be looking to make the most of it on Sunday.”

Josh Kean – #5 Wynns PRA Ford:
Race 2: 15th
Race 3: DNF
“It was a shocking day today. There isn’t much to say as we didn’t have any luck and to not finish the final race of the day was disappointing. We’ve got one left for the weekend and my team-mates have pace so we’ll review the data and see where we end up.”

2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

Richie Stanaway – #6 PRA Ford:
Race 2: 4th
Race 3: 3rd
“It has been okay. The penalty we got yesterday wasn’t ideal so I had a bit of work to get some track position back. We detuned the car a little too much in race two for tyre degradation but then we found it was better to have outright performance and manage the tyres. We were a lot more competitive for race three but I am not sure where we sit with tyre quality against our rivals. Hopefully we have a reasonable batch for tomorrow and see what I can do from third. It has been a fairly solid weekend so far but I still would’ve been higher up the order. The main thing it has been a really good experience for me – going through the motions and getting into the groove of racing one of these cars.”

 
RACE 17 RESULTS
1) Fabian Coulthard – DJR Team Penske
2) Chaz Mostert – Supercheap Auto Racing
3) Jamie Whincup – Triple Eight
4) Mark Winterbottom – The Bottle-O Racing Team
5) Scott Pye – Walkinshaw Racing
14) Jason Bright – MEGA Fuels Racing
20) Cameron Waters – Monster Energy Racing

 
CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS
1) Scott McLaughlin – DJR Team Penske: 1974
2) Jamie Whincup – Triple Eight: 1896
3) Fabian Coulthard – DJR Team Penske: 1813
4) Shane van Gisbergen – Triple Eight: 1695
5) Chaz Mostert – Supercheap Auto Racing: 1683
6) Mark Winterbottom – The Bottle-O Racing Team: 1455
10) Cameron Waters – Monster Energy Racing: 1255
21) Jason Bright – MEGA Racing: 774

TEAMS CHAMPIONSHIP
1) DJR Team Penske: 3822
2) Triple Eight: 3591
3) Prodrive Racing Australia: 2746