PRODRIVE RACING – CLIPSAL 500 FRIDAY
Prodrive Racing (Australia) will have three opportunities to claim pole position in tomorrow's Top 10 Shootout with Mark Winterbottom, Chaz Mostert and Cameron Waters all recording a strong start to the season. Mostert's run to fifth-place was set at the end of the 20-minute session, with further changes being made to the car in qualifying. Despite recording a promising time, Mostert and engineer Adam De Borre both insist there is room to improve with setup. The level of competition has again increased in 2017 with Winterbottom and Waters' times separated by just 0.0001 of a second. Winterbottom will take advantage of tomorrow's final 20 minute practice session to tune the car to his liking as his relationship with new engineer Brendan Hogan develops. Cameron Waters has further cemented his position as a competitive driver on the streets of Adelaide, qualifying ninth in a promising display of form. Returning veteran Jason Bright believes more time in the car on a street circuit will be key moving forward after qualifying 22nd for tomorrow's 78-lap race.
Mark Winterbottom - #5 The Bottle-O PRA Ford:
Race 1 Qualifying: 8th – 1m20.0565s
"We're still playing with the car. When you have new engineers and drivers together it always takes a little bit of time to fine-tune. The key was to get in the shootout because now we get a practice session tomorrow to go again. We need to make the car better. It's not doing what I want it to do but at the same time that qualifying lap I was pretty happy with because I knew it didn't have anything left in it so that was as good as it could do, we got in the shootout and we'll keep progressing. We're enjoying it, we've just got to find that little thing that works and it's not too far away."
Cameron Waters - #6 Monster Energy PRA Ford:
Race 1 Qualifying: 9th – 1m20.0566s
"I'm really happy to get in the top 10. That was our goal for the day so to do that is really cool. We had a bit of a setback in practice two when I hit the tyre bundle and didn't get a run on green tyres but Brad (Wischusen) did an awesome job of tuning what we had and it ticked the box of getting into the shootout. We'll try and make it better again and give it our all tomorrow."
Chaz Mostert - #55 Supercheap Auto PRA Ford:
Race 1 Qualifying: 5th – 1m19.8676s
"It's encouraging to see three of our cars into the shootout and good to have a good start to the year. We're all out there trying new things and my car is different to the other guys' and their cars are probably different to each other's as well. It's good that the car can work in different settings. We're obviously trying to fine-tune what is best for each driver but there's still a bit of work to go. I'm not completely happy with the balance of my car. Neither is my engineer so we're going to work hard tonight to try and make it even better again for tomorrow but very lucky to do a quick time at the end there to get us in the 10."
Jason Bright - #56 MEGA Bulk Fuels PRA Ford:
Race 1 Qualifying: 22nd – 1m20.8057s
"It was a tough one. We had a bit of a tough start to the day with some problems with the anti-roll-bar so I felt a little bit behind the eight ball because of that. To be honest I didn't really feel like I drove the car like it needs to be driven today. It's such a different car to what I've been used to. It makes time in different areas and I felt like we should have been a bit better. On the last set of tyres we were probably on for a much better lap but I had a mistake at turn 10, so it would have moved us up a little bit but not into the top 10. It'll come. It's such a different car to what I'm used to so it'll take a little while."
Tim Edwards – Team Principal:
"That's a promising way to start the season, absolutely. To have three cars progressing in the right direction with room to improve is good. We're still feeling our way around this tyre and what works for our cars and then the drivers themselves but we know a way forward. There are a few things still to get on top of tonight but it's great to have a chance to qualify even further up the order tomorrow. The reality is that it's all good and well to qualify well but over 78 laps you need the tyres to last which can be a challenge in this heat."
DUNLOP SUPER2 SERIES
Prodrive Racing (Australia)'s opening Dunlop Super2 Series race was one of challenges for Garry Jacobson and Josh Kean after an aggressive start to the race. Despite setup battles, Jacobson was able to run at the front of the pack for most of the race, battling with Andrew Jones for position. Running in sixth, a late tap from Jones caused the number one car to lose balance and drop back to finish 11th. Damage to car five mid-way through race one caused Kean to pit, citing left-rear damage as the cause. Kean was able to re-join to finish 21st in his maiden race with the team.
Garry Jacobson - #1 McQuinn Electrical PRA Ford:
Qualifying: 4th – 1m22.34s
Race 1: 11th
"The car has changed quite a bit over the off-season so there have been a few things to get used to out there. Off the line I had a mega start but the car has been quite hard to drive in some parts of the track so I was battling with it quite a bit. I know that to remain in the championship you have to be consistent so that was my aim, just to keep it in the top ten but I had a tap from Andrew Jones late in the race which caused the car to lose balance and drop back a few spots. Definitely not how I wanted to end the race but we know from today that there are a few things we can do to the car to make it better and challenge again from there tomorrow."
Josh Kean - #5 Wynns Racing PRA Ford:
Qualifying: 13th – 1m22.93s
Race 1: 21st
"Yeah that definitely wasn't how I wanted to start the season. I hit a kerb pretty hard after contact with another car and lost the steering. Before that the car was tracking pretty well. The red flag in qualifying wasn't ideal as I lost my last flying lap which would have been pretty good. The guys here have been great so we'll fix it up and get back up there tomorrow."