Prodrive Racing (Australia)’s Chaz Mostert had a strong return to Sydney Motorsport Park, finishing first and fourth in the day’s practice sessions.
After starting on hard tyres, the switch to the soft compound tyre saw significant gain for Mostert where his first flyer saw him top the time sheet.
Rain towards the end of practice one saw the drivers out of cars early, but did not return for the rest of the day.
Tyre quality played a significant role in practice for Mark Winterbottom who saw little gain until the second session.
Despite the troubles, he managed a 10th place finish in session one before dipping under the 30 second mark in session two to finish third overall.
Cameron Waters was the biggest mover on the green tyre, jumping to finish 17th in the late in the day despite a lower than ideal tyre temperature.
While also battling with tyre quality in the first practice, Chris Pither improved in the second, running around the tenth place mark before finishing 13th overall.
Mark Winterbottom – #1 The Bottle-O PRA Ford: 3rd – 1m29.8326s
“We ended up alright but the way the tyres roll you just waste your time really for a lot of it. I wasn’t too happy at one point but then we put the next set of tyres on and under-drove it and actually thought we could go a lot quicker. It’s just the nature of the sport the way the tyre situation is. You can scratch your head all day and then put a set of tyres on and go quick. I think we’ve got a good base to work with now. We’ve got good tyres for tomorrow’s practice. We’ll evaluate the changes but you sit in 20 something for most of the day and then ended up towards the front. It’s not a bad day but just frustrating in parts when it’s the black things that you put on that make a big difference.”
Cameron Waters – #6 Monster Energy PRA Ford: 17th – 1m30.29s
“It wasn’t that bad of a day. I think we were tyre limited for most of it and then put the greens on and I didn’t really have enough tyre temp for my lap. I think I had the pace to be inside the ten. We found a few things on the car to do which will help me for tomorrow so we’ll do that overnight, roll out tomorrow and see how we go.”
Chaz Mostert – #55 Supercheap Auto PRA Ford: 4th – 1m29.8327
“Very productive day for us. It’s a pretty hard track to do much testing on as the other boys will probably say because you get one or two runs on the tyre and it’s degrading so quickly. The tyres held the heat in them after each run and you go back out still on a hot tyre so it’s very hard to do changes and find gains but today we found a few little things. At the start of the day we probably went down the wrong track a little bit which taught us what not to run this weekend a bit but towards the end of the day we did a couple of little things that helped out a little bit. It’s so tight at the top. The quickest was a 29.77 and I think we were fourth with a 20.83 so half a tenth would get you from fourth to first. It’s going to be a hard weekend if it’s that tight. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. It’s good to be in the top five. The test day went really well and gave me some extra laps and fingers crossed we can stay up in the top five this weekend.”
Chris Pither – #111 Super Black PRA Ford: 13th – 1m30.20s
“The car is feeling pretty comfortable. We got it feeling pretty good by the end of that second session but I got held up on both of my flying laps which was frustrating. P13 is pretty good though. I know the car has more in it. I think we could definitely have gotten up a bit further but we’ll look at it all again in practice tomorrow and go from there. I’m pretty confident that we’ll be able to challenge or the top ten.”
Tim Edwards – Team Principal:
“This track is always a challenging one. Even since last year the track surface has changed. Everyone really struggled a bit with their tyres today. Frosty wasn’t all that confident in the direction he was going because of the tyre but when they put the green tyre on it made sense so that has been a bit of a challenge for all of them today. I think we still made some good progress and had another look at some things we covered off in the test day. There were a few little things that didn’t quite come together as we would have liked but that’s what practice is for. We know what to look at now and can get ourselves in a good position for tomorrow.”
DRIVER CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS
1) Jamie Whincup – Triple Eight: 1821
2) Shane van Gisbergen – Triple Eight: 1711
3) Mark Winterbottom – Prodrive Racing: 1701
4) Craig Lowndes – Triple Eight: 1671
5) Scott McLaughlin – Garry Rogers Motorsport: 1536
9) Chaz Mostert – Prodrive Racing: 1286
18) Cameron Waters – Prodrive Racing: 901
20) Chris Pither– Super Black Racing: 796
1) Triple Eight: 3542
2) Prodrive Racing: 2617
3) Garry Rogers Motorsport: 2418