Prodrive Racing (Australia)’s Chaz Mostert has set a new lap record at Queensland Raceway to claim the fastest time in Friday practice ahead of the weekend’s Ipswich Super Sprint.
Mostert, at his home track, impressed in the final hit out on day one following on from his consistent run in the earlier session.
Mark Winterbottom struggled early to find a set-up which he was happy with and despite the challenges, praised the response from his engineering team to drastically improve the car’s performance to end the day close to his pace-setting team-mate.
Jason Bright enjoyed a similar jump in performance, though is still trying to find a satisfactory set-up.
Cameron Waters proved consistent again, averaging 10th place in the two 45-minute sessions. The Monster Energy driver was joined by co-driver Richie Stanaway who, alongside Dean Canto (Winterbottom), Steve Owen (Mostert) and Garry Jacobson (Bright), all took part in an additional co-driver session at the start of the day.
The running comes six weeks before the start of the Enduro Cup which kicks off with the Sandown 500.
Mark Winterbottom – #5 The Bottle-O PRA Ford:
Practice 1: 26th – 1m10.35s
Practice 2: 6th – 1m09.27s
“The first session was poor. I haven’t driven a car that hard to drive for a long time. I was a bit unsure of where we were going as we tried a lot of things in the first session and made no inroads. It was a really good job by my engineer Brendan to turn it around. We’ve made it a car that I think we can compete with which is good. Things were a lot better. My final run was hampered by Alex Rullo and without that I would’ve been closer to a 1m9.0s lap. I am proud of the crew for turning it from a back row car to a pretty much front of the field car.”
Cameron Waters – #6 Monster Energy PRA Ford:
Practice 1: 11th – 1m09.91s
Practice 2: 9th – 1m09.41s
“It was a pretty interesting day. We rolled out and the pace wasn’t too bad and tried a few things during the day and really struggled with high-speed balance. We made a few improvements through practice two and when we put green tyres on as well, but I am still not happy. It is really good that Chaz is up the front and hopefully we can learn a bit off his car.”
Chaz Mostert – #55 Supercheap Auto PRA Ford:
Practice 1: 7th – 1m09.82s
Practice 2: 1st – 1m08.99s
“Overall I am pretty happy with today. To end up on top of the times is pretty amazing as there are some fast cars out there. It is also pretty special to do an eight [1m08s lap] around here – to see that come up on the dash is not something ever seen before. I think there is a little more in the car and there is work to be done on our race set-up. If we can keep aiming for the top five and being consistent we’ll continue to push.”
Jason Bright – #56 MEGA Bulk Fuels PRA Ford:
Practice 1: 21st – 1m10.20s
Practice 2: 14th – 1m09.54s
“Our practice tyres were really bad even though they seemed like a good set which meant we started off on the wrong foot. Even when I put my next set on I expected a further step forward, but it didn’t come. When I put the new tyres on at the end, despite me not putting together a good lap, there is a lot of time left so with a few changes I know I need to make we should be a lot closer to the front.”
Tim Edwards – Team Principal:
“It was a challenging day to find a set-up that worked but we clearly got there with Chaz given he set a new lap record which is encouraging for everyone. It is going to be a close qualifying session so to know we are in the hunt is what we need at this stage. Mark, Cam and Jason all had their challenges but we showed the benefit of having four strong drivers and engineering teams to work our way around the issues and come out with a much more positive end to the day. It was also great to have all four co-drivers here, contributing to the day and officially begin our build-up to the Enduro Cup.”