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Prodrive Racing (Australia)’s Mark Winterbottom has thanked a strong strategy call and good car pace for his second place finish in race 11 at the Winton SuperSprint after starting 10th. A lap one pit stop and an additional stop for fuel under safety car pushed Winterbottom to the top of the field, forcing his tyres to hold on for a 43 lap stint. Winterbottom was able to hold off a charging Fabian Coulthard on newer tyres in the dying stages to grab second place and to claim the championship lead. After a tough start to the race and damage to the rear of his car at the start, a pit stop under safety car was the saving grace for Cameron Waters who completed his compulsory fuel drop with over half the race remaining. Waters’ credited engineer Brendan Hogan for a race strategy that saw him finish fifth after starting 11th. Despite collecting a pole position ahead of his 100th race start at Winton, a collision with James Courtney saw Chaz Mostert finish 20th after a hard run day in the Supercheap Auto Ford. The collision sent Mostert into the pits for the third time that day with a punctured tyre, forcing him to pit four times in race 11. Chris Pither also endured a tough day, with a pit lane penalty for exceeding the pit lane speed limit hampering his day after starting 15th.  Despite the high-grip surface, Pither was able to move up from 20th to finish 18th.

Mark Winterbottom – #1 The Bottle-O PRA Ford:
Qualifying: 10th
Race 11: 2nd
“The car was pretty good. Qualifying was obviously average because the track changed this morning and we didn’t adapt the car to it. We weren’t far off but it was really loose mid exit so we knew what we needed to focus on in the race and Jase (Gray) is doing a bloody good job at the moment of fixing a car that’s in the window so in the race I knew I had a good car. With 43 (laps) to go I had a set of tyres that had to last 43 laps so it’s crazy that they went that far and a soft tyre and on a good surface it lasts a hell of a long time. When Fabian caught me he was obviously quicker but if you can brake straight and drive straight it’s pretty hard to pass. I didn’t block, I just tried to keep trucking along and with four to go I did my fastest lap. I’m proud of the guys, they stuck to their strategy … and we maximised it.”

Cameron Waters – #6 Monster Energy PRA Ford:
Qualifying: 11th
Race 11: 5th
“It was an up and down day and I was really happy with the car and had good pace. One guy bombed me and I got completely hung out to dry which was really frustrating. There was plenty of panel rubbing and I just got stuck back in the pack so the team pitted me and got me some clean air. From there we had great strategy and it was great to hold onto fifth. Hopefully that’s my luck turned around.”

Chaz Mostert – #55 Supercheap Auto PRA Ford:
Qualifying: 1st
Race 11: 20th
“It was a really tough day today. It is hard to know where we were after that safety car so I went aggressive on the restart only to unfortunately make an error and hit another car. I am really disappointed for the team that my error cost us a high overall result. Overall we made great gains over the weekend and I really enjoyed letting my engineer Brad shine. He’s done an amazing job but I just need to eliminate the errors and we’ll be in with a chance.”

Chris Pither – #111 Super Black PRA Ford:
Qualifying: 15th
Race 11: 18th
“I’m disappointed with the result but excited by the potential. Qualifying was extremely close and we were right in the middle of all the action but just needed to find another five hundredths to achieve our target and be in the top ten. I’m a little bit disappointed by that but excited that we’re in the hunt and I think it’s only a matter of time before we string it all together and start getting into the ten consistently. Apart from that the race itself the car was strong and I felt pretty competitive when we had clear track but unfortunately received a pit lane penalty for pit lane speed in our first pit stop and just had an issue with engaging the pit limiter. I got it down to speed but as I picked up the throttle I didn’t for some reason have the pit lane speed limiter engaged. Dilan (Talabani) did a pretty awesome job to get us back onto the lead lap again and salvage a reasonable result on a tough day.”

Tim Edwards – Team Principal:
“Frosty and Jase have put some standout strategies together in the last few races and that was to thank for the podium today. He had a really good car in the race but the strategy played a really big part in it. He has been consistent for most of this year which is why he’s leading the championship right now. Cam did a fantastic job to hold on after his rough start and Brendan did a fantastic job with strategy in that safety car window as well. Unfortunate to see Chaz finish the race where he did after starting in pole position but luck didn’t seem to be on his side today. Chris is making good ground. He didn’t quite finish where he would have liked but he and Dilan are working well together now to get the most out of that car.”

1) Tim Slade – Brad Jones Racing
2) Mark Winterbottom – Prodrive Racing
3) Fabian Coulthard – DJR Team Penske
4) Shane van Gisbergen – Triple Eight
5) Cameron Waters – Prodrive Racing
18) Chris Pither – Super Black Racing
20) Chaz Mostert – Prodrive Racing

1) Mark Winterbottom – Prodrive Racing: 1083 points
2) Scott McLaughlin – Garry Rogers Motorsport: 1056
3) Jamie Whincup – Triple Eight: 1047
12) Chaz Mostert – Prodrive Racing: 704
18) Cam Waters – Prodrive Racing: 613
24) Chris Pither – Super Black Racing: 415

1) Triple Eight: 2054 points
2) Prodrive Racing: 1711
3) Garry Rogers Motorsport: 1602