TOWNSVILLE SHINING LIGHT FOR PRA
Prodrive Racing (Australia) will draw on its 2015 success when it takes to the testing Townsville street track this weekend with hopes for redemption.
After a less-than-ideal Darwin event, Mark Winterbottom will aim to continue his winning-streak at the Reid Park circuit, where he hopes a no-mistakes run will return him to the top of the championship leaderboard.
Cameron Waters will draw on his Dunlop Series victories at the circuit last year as he aims to find consistency within the main game.
After finishing fourth at the Clipsal 500, Waters believes his strength at street circuits so far this year will help him challenge for the top ten.
Chaz Mostert’s confidence in the #55 Ford continues to grow as the season progresses, with his Darwin podium acting as a booster ahead of the Townsville round.
Mostert will aim to return to the front row ahead of the two-200km races with a first race win for the season in his sights.
Chris Pither’s rookie season continues to improve as the Kiwi prepares to debut a new-look livery, as well as a brand new sponsor at Townsville for the remainder of the season.
A strong Darwin showing has also been a confidence booster for Pither who says the familiarity of the track will be beneficial on race day.
Mark Winterbottom – #1 The Bottle-O PRA Ford:
“Townsville is one that in the past we’ve feared a little bit, it’s one of those tough tracks but last year it was one of our best tracks. We struggled with consistency across the three sectors but we made it work last year which was really positive. The different sections of the track with the parklands and the street used to throw the car off quite a bit but there wasn’t a huge difference for us last year and it showed. You go up there with a bit more confidence and obviously this time of year the championship is getting very close, that top six guys are separated by 100 points. A good result out of this one is going to boost you up the order but it’s very easy to have a bad race at Townsville. The goal is to get to the front and if you can’t win it, get the result.”
Cameron Waters – #6 Monster Energy PRA Ford:
“I’m feeling really good about the car after the test day. It was good to give it a good run in and try a few different things before Townsville. I’m really keen to get back in the car and up to some warm weather too. It’s awesome to be able to go up there and break up our winter a bit. I’ve had a bit of success in Townsville in the Dunlop Series and I really enjoy the layout of the track with the half street half circuit setup. I had a good run at Clipsal at the start of the season so hopefully I can keep my form up at the street circuits and hopefully this new chassis remembers how to get on the podium for me.”
Chaz Mostert – #55 Supercheap Auto PRA Ford:
“Townsville is one of my favourite events in terms of the atmosphere. The warmer weather is awesome and the people of Townsville always get around it. It was really good to get back on the podium in Darwin but we’re still chasing that win. Townsville is definitely one of the tougher events and you really have to give it everything you’ve got. It’s an exciting event with the rock and race aspect and then the action on track. The FG X actually suits the track really well, where we had struggled in the years before that so if we can pick up where we left off last year, hopefully we can get back on that podium.”
Chris Pither – #111 Super Black PRA Ford:
“It’ll be good. Townsville is a tough track, it’s challenging for the cars and the drivers and it’s one of those tracks where you have to throw everything at it to put a strong lap together. We’ve made some good progress this year and we’re getting to a point where I’m feeling more confident in the car. My experience there last year in the Dunlop Series will definitely help but again. I got my first Dunlop Series race and round win at Townsville and the same in the V8 Utes so I’m absolutely looking forward to driving around there in the main game.It was a real positive to stay out of trouble in Darwin and get a reasonable result. Hopefully our pace can continue and we can get another good result for the Super Black Racing team.”
Tim Edwards – Team Principal:
“We have a good track record at Townsville, obviously with a bit of success last year but it’s the kind of place where anything can happen. We had good pace in Darwin but things pan out how we would have liked but we’ve already put it behind us because there’s no point dwelling on the past. All four of the drivers really enjoy the event and the track. The atmosphere is always electric; the fans come out in force to support us and the category so our priority is getting back on the winners list. We’ll draw on our strengths and strive for another clean sweep.”
WINTERBOTTOM WANTS REPEAT OF TOWNSVILLE SWEEP
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Prodrive Racing (Australia)’s Dunlop Series entries have once again made the most of a test day prior to their return to the track at the Townsville 400 after a two-month break. Joint-series leaders Garry Jacobson and Jack Le Brocq are pleased with further progress made at the Winton test day, where main-series driver and 2015 Dunlop Series Champion Cameron Waters test drove the number five and six machines. With three wins apiece, competition is hot between the teammates as they pass the half-way point of the Development Series. Both drivers achieved a top-three finish in at least one of the Townsville races last year, ensuring two thrilling, high-intensity races in North Queensland.
Jack Le Brocq – #5 GoGetta Racing PRA Ford:
“The test day we had in the lead up to this event was a really big help, we definitely fixed a few things that we’d been working on which included my starts. I’m glad Townsville has finally rolled around; it’s been a while in between events for us and I’m really keen to put the changes we made into play. I really love going there. The atmosphere is unreal and everyone gets behind it. The car really suits the circuit, you get to bounce over all of the kerbs and race between concrete walls which is fun, and there are some good opportunities for passing too. It’s quite a technical track, which will provide a good challenge but I’ve had a pretty good run there previously so fingers crossed we have a good weekend.”
Garry Jacobson – #6 Challenger Valve PRA Ford:
“It’s good to be going head to head with Jack. We have a really healthy rivalry within the team but at the same time work together to make sure we can get the most out of these cars. I didn’t have a great round in Perth but Jack did and vice versa for earlier in the season so we’re working to make sure we’re both competitive. The cars are great, we ironed a few things out at the test day last week which was really helpful. I finished second in race one in Townsville last year so it’d be awesome to go one better and stand on the podium again at the end of the round.”
EVENT NAME: Castrol EDGE Townsville 400
DATE: 8 – 10 July
LOCATION: Townsville, Queensland
EVENT NUMBER: 7 of 14
FORMAT: Friday – 1 x 60min practice, 1 x 40min practice; Saturday – 1 x 20min qualifying, 1 x 70-lap race; Sunday – 1 x 20min qualifying, 1 x Top 10 Shootout, 1 x 70-lap race
CIRCUIT: Reid Park
DESCRIPTION: Reid Park is a fast and flowing street circuit in a similar style and parkland setting to Albert Park – the home of the Australian Grand Prix. The venue quickly became a driver and fan favourite when it was added to the calendar due to its layout and location close to the centre of the city. The majority of the track uses specially-constructed roads, while the remainder is made of pre-existing local streets running through parks.
TRACK RECORD: 1m12.25s – Mark Winterbottom, 2012 (qualifying)
PRA BEST RESULT: 1st – Mark Winterbottom (2010, 2015), Will Davison (2013)
DRIVER CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS
1) Jamie Whincup – Triple Eight: 1275 points
2) Craig Lowndes – Triple Eight: 1245
3) Scott McLaughlin – Garry Rogers Motorsport: 1230
4) Mark Winterbottom – Prodrive Racing: 1212
5) Shane van Gisbergen – Triple Eight: 1204
12) Chaz Mostert – Prodrive Racing: 869
18) Cameron Waters – Prodrive Racing: 685
22) Chris Pither– Super Black Racing: 550
1) Triple Eight: 2489
2) Prodrive Racing: 1912
3) Garry Rogers Motorsport: 1854