Prodrive Racing (Australia) has started its Sydney assault in fine form with three cars in the top four on the opening day of practice at a windswept Sydney Motorsport Park where strong wind gusts and tyre life were the key challenges. Mark Winterbottom enjoyed a welcome return to the front at his home circuit finishing second, one spot ahead of team-mate Chaz Mostert who was just in front of Cameron Waters in fourth. Jason Bright was unfortunate to not join his fellow PRA drivers in the top 10. His fastest time of the final session was good enough, however he was adjudged to have exceeded track limits and has his fastest time deleted.
The high winds made consistent lap times difficult to achieve but with improved weather conditions tomorrow and a further practice session tomorrow ahead of qualifying the quartet are confident of staying at the front.
Mark Winterbottom – #5 The Bottle-O PRA Ford:
Practice 1: 11th – 1m30.98s
Practice 2: 2nd – 1m29.00s
“It was nice to have a good car under me and have a bit of a crack. All our cars worked the same which was nice. We ended up p2 and I think there is more in it but we will have to see what the wind does tomorrow and chase the track conditions. It is nice to have a good day and I look forward to progressing from where we are.”
Cameron Waters – #6 Monster Energy PRA Ford:
Practice 1: 8th – 1m30.74s
Practice 2: 4th – 1m29.23s
“It was a really positive day. We rolled out and had a little bit of a different car setup but I liked it. Brad and I worked closely to build on what we had and to have three of us inside the top four is really positive for the team. Hopefully we can put it all together tonight and track down Scott (McLaughlin) at the front. The wind was a massive talking point as it changes how the car behaves. Through some corners it helps and others it makes the car feel terrible. It is a bit of a balancing act but you can work it out and allow for it.”
Chaz Mostert – #55 Supercheap Auto PRA Ford:
Practice 1: 6th – 1m30.60s
Practice 2: 3rd – 1m29.03s
“I think we have a little bit of work to do. The wind has thrown a bit of a spanner in the works, though it did help a lot with turn one – I don’t think I’ve ever been able to turn in like I did today. But then it is pretty bad around other parts so it is going to be pretty close tomorrow. I think we can make some little gains tomorrow but the weather will play a big part.”
Jason Bright – #56 MEGA Bulk Fuels PRA Ford:
Practice 1: 21st – 1m31.60s
Practice 2: 23rd – 1m30.58s
“The car isn’t too bad despite the timesheet. We struggled in both sessions with the timing sensor that recognises the outside of the track. I believe I kept two wheels on the track every time as the rule requires so that is a bit frustrating to get penalised. Without losing my best time we would’ve ended about 10th. We are losing a bit of time into turn one, but otherwise the rest of the lap isn’t too bad which is encouraging.”
Tim Edwards – Team Principal:
“We’re all pretty happy with today as we’ve been consistent as we’ve dialled the cars in and to have three cars in the top four provides a solid baseline heading into the weekend. Jason set a time good enough for the top 10 too so without the track limits penalty our day looks even better. It was a tricky day with the wind so we won’t get too carried away but it was a solid effort to get our event underway. Was also a great effort by Richie Stanaway on his Super2 debut. Qualified fourth, finished third and learnt a lot so he’ll carry good momentum into the weekend’s races.”
DUNLOP SUPER2 SERIES
Prodrive Racing (Australia) has claimed a pole position and a podium on the opening day of Super2 action in Sydney. Defending series champion Garry Jacobson laid down the lap to beat in qualifying and could not be topped to claim a confidence-boosting pole. Debutant Richie Stanaway was close behind in fourth and would finish his maiden solo Supercars race third after a rapid start and consistent 18-lap race. Jacobson unfortunately struggled with wheel spin off the line and dropped to ninth. Undeterred he put on an impressive show of driving to climb back to fifth by race end to score vital points. Josh Kean qualified 13th and finished 14th, though much like Jacobson he was delayed on the opening lap. A victim of a Turn 2 melee caused by other cars he dropped to 17th before recovering ground throughout. The series returns for two further 18-lap races on Saturday.