Prodrive Racing (Australia) has managed to salvage two top 10 results in a day of punctures and penalties at the Phillip Island 500.
Jason Bright and Mark Winterbottom were able to make the most of a bad situation, finishing seventh and eighth respectively.
If it had not been for a puncture to the right-front of the #56 MEGA Racing FG X and a 15 second penalty handed to Winterbottom for crossing the blend line in pit lane, both cars may have been within distance of a podium finish.
Cameron Waters was the worst hit of the bunch with two blown right-rear tyres while also receiving a drive-through penalty for an incident with James Courtney at turn 11.
Despite the undesirable result, Waters was pleased with the pace of his car with one race still to run at the Victorian event.
Also suffering two punctures to his right-rear tyres, Chaz Mostert was able to recover from his lap-down position to finish 11th in a tough day of racing.
Mostert, among other drivers has been left perplexed by today’s events with the team to look at possible solutions overnight.
Mark Winterbottom – #5 The Bottle-O PRA Ford:
Qualifying: 4th – 1m29.77s
Race 5: 8th
“It was just a weird day. You’re in conservation mode so you’re driving around getting told to do a second and a half off the pace you can do because the tyres aren’t up to it. It’s frustrating because it’s not really racing, its just conservation. Serving the penalty was the killer. We would have been top three and had a good result. The blend line normally has a cone where you blend in and when you’re following a car you can’t see where you’re going so it’s a pretty steep penalty. I knew the rule but you just can’t see so you follow the car in front. We should have had a podium but thankfully no tyres blown. There were blisters on our tyres so we weren’t far away from it. It was a pretty average racing day, for people watching as well so we’ll try and fix it.”
Cameron Waters – #6 Monster Energy PRA Ford:
Qualifying: 7th – 1m30.01s
Race 5: 19th
“Yeah I didn’t really have much luck today. We had pretty good pace. I think we were comfortably inside the top 10 or even around the fifth mark pace-wise so I was cruising around about there at the start and then we got the first tyre failure and from then it all went downhill. I got another one after that and from there our race was over. The car seemed pretty pacey so we’ll move on and try again tomorrow.”
Chaz Mostert – #55 Supercheap Auto PRA Ford:
Qualifying: 5th – 1m29.83s
Race 5: 11th
“Tough day. Obviously not just for us but for the whole category. It was pretty average out there to see majority of the whole field blow tyres. It’s not very fun when you’re driving around just trying to conserve just to try and get a full stint on tyres. It’s a pretty unique thing. All of the car setup stuff hasn’t changed much from the previous sets of tyres from other years so it’s really weird that these ones are blowing. There’s obviously something going on. To end up 11th after two blown tyres and losing a lap, that’s a dream result really. We lost a lot of points in the championship compared to a couple of our rivals but we’ll regroup tomorrow, go through the data, work out what’s going to work and wait to Supercars to say what’s going to happen with these tyres.”
Jason Bright – #56 MEGA Bulk Fuels PRA Ford:
Qualifying: 21st – 1m30.57s
Race 5: 7th
“It was a funny day. The car was really good. We took our time early on and I was really happy with the first stint. We obviously planned to go long on each stint. The safety car came at the wrong time for us as we couldn’t pit at that point. We had really good pace when we were running in fifth at the re-start and I probably tried to pass Will (Davison) a bit too hard and I don’t know whether that was what damaged the right-front tyre or not but the car was really strong at that point. It was a bit of a shame looking at how it all panned out after that point. We would have been looking pretty good. We would have been on for a podium but we’ll take what we got.”
Tim Edwards – Team Principal:
“There’s a lot to say about the race today and I don’t really know where to start. We had to tell the drivers to run under their ultimate car speed to try and save the tyre. At the end of the day it wasn’t really racing out there, it was conserving. There’s a lot to look at after today. There will be a few meetings tonight and plenty to discuss before we race again tomorrow.”
DUNLOP SUPER2 SERIES
Prodrive Racing (Australia)’s Dunlop Super2 Series challengers endured a tough second race at the Phillip Island 500 with Garry Jacobson suffering a tyre puncture on the penultimate lap on the run in to turn one. Running into the gravel trap at approximately 270kmph, Jacobson was unable to re-join the field to finish the race. In another frustrating race for Josh Kean, the South-Australian himself off the track at turn six with a quarter of the race left to play out after veering off the track and into the gravel trap. Each driver had been running in second and 10th places respectively. Race three showed signs of promise with Jacobson using his car speed to secure a top eight finish. Kean, who continued to struggle with car set-up will look for further gains tomorrow after finishing 15th.
Garry Jacobson – #1 MEGA Bulk Fuels PRA Ford:
Race 2: DNF
Race 3: 8th
“I had a bit more speed today and was able to push (Jack) Le Brocq for a lot of the race in race two. He was quicker than me in the second sector and I was pushing him through the first and third so I was pretty pleased. We had a bit of bad luck with the tyre failure which wasn’t uncommon, there are plenty of other guys who have had that today so it’s not so much bad luck, it’s more the nature of the circuit and the tyre. Basically for race three the PRA crew did a great job of getting the car back up and running for race three. It was handling really well, I started 22nd and got up to 8th with about seven to go and from there I was a passenger again, had some vibrations so had to coast it and carry the car home. The day didn’t go to plan but the speed is still there and we’re probably the second quickest car outright.”
Josh Kean – #5 Wynns Racing PRA Ford:
Race 2: 22nd
Race 3: 15th
“I don’t seem to be having much luck out there at the moment. I have to work really hard in the car to get it to do what I want. We’ve been struggling with understeer and oversteer and the balance of the car as well so there’s a lot to work on. Once we can get it behaving a bit better around here I think we’ll have some speed but at the moment there’s not much more I can do.”
RACE 5 RESULTS
1) Fabian Coulthard – DJR Team Penske
2) Jamie Whincup – Triple Eight
3) Garth Tander – Garry Rogers Motorsport
4) Shane van Gisbergen – Triple Eight
5) Michael Caruso – Nissan Motorsport
7) Jason Bright – MEGA Racing
8) Mark Winterbottom – The Bottle-O Racing Team
11) Chaz Mostert – Supercheap Auto Racing
19) Cameron Waters – Monster Energy Racing
1) Fabian Coulthard – DJR Team Penske: 514
2) Shane van Gisbergen – Triple Eight: 504
3) Jamie Whincup – Triple Eight: 471
5) Chaz Mostert – Supercheap Auto Racing: 381
6) Cameron Waters – Monster Energy Racing: 360
12) Mark Winterbottom – The Bottle-O Racing Team: 279
20) Jason Bright – MEGA Racing: 198
1) Triple Eight: 975
2) DJR Team Penske: 957
3) Prodrive Racing Australia: 639