Prodrive Racing Australia
08 OCT 2017
Bathurst bites Prodrive Racing
After leading 99 laps of the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, Prodrive Racing (Australia) saw hopes of victory go up in smoke in the final laps. Consistently strong pace through the early and middle portions saw three of PRA's four entries lead laps (#6 Monster Energy FG X, #55 Supercheap Auto FG X, and #56 MEGA Fuels FG X), but a drying track and untimely safety cars eventually shuffled the team back. An incident on a Lap 145 restart removed Cars 6 & 55 – the team's two strongest cars on the day – from contention for the win, and Mark Winterbottom's Lap 159 spin stripped the team of a potential top five finish on a day that will be largely one to forget.
The #56 MEGA Fuels FG X driven by Jason Bright and Garry Jacobson led the team home with an eighth place finish. Jacobson's first race at Bathurst was highlighted by a starring drive in wet conditions where he powered his car to the lead for two laps, and Bright drove a clean end of the race to score the entry's best finish since April at Phillip Island.
Chaz Mostert and Steve Owen salvaged at tenth-place finish after a pair of drive-through penalties in addition to the Lap 145 incident that removed them from contention.
Cameron Waters and Richie Stanaway's attempt at repeating their Sandown 500 win came up snake eyes with a 16th-place finish, and Winterbottom and Dean Canto finished 20th following Frosty's late shunt.
#5 The Bottle-O PRA Ford
"Pretty average day to be honest. We ended up back up front at the end there, but we just didn't have the pace. Just the way to finish, that's the dampener really. One lap to go and you crash, I don't know what happened, just lost the rear. I was trying to push on because we didn't have the pace, but that's the thing I'm gutted about most. Not the result, just the damage for no reward. Frustrating day."
"It was a long day. The first set of tyres I ran were under pressured, so I went backwards faster than I was going forward. Mark went in, did a great job getting us away from any risk of going a lap down. My second stint was reasonable, did my minimum laps and Mark got back in. At the end we didn't have outright car pace and Mark was trying pretty hard to keep his position. He clipped a little bit of water on the entry to the elbow. I've been there before and hit the same bit of concrete on the left hand side. Not a hard thing to do when there's such a narrow dry line."
#6 Monster Energy PRA Ford
"Just gutted, man. Second race in a row we had a car that could win, and just was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Tried to push on and see if we could salvage anything, but nothing worthwhile. It's a shame to have the day end like that, but that's racing."
"Obviously a disappointing way to end the day, but it's just the nature of this race. The way we rolled the dice with the strategy, then getting caught up in someone else's incident is disappointing. Just the way it is."
#55 Supercheap Auto PRA Ford
"I really enjoyed the Sandown 500. Today not quite as much. We were fast at points, the boys gave me a really good car for the wet conditions. The dry wasn't quite as good to us but we didn't get much of a chance on dry tyres to really see what we had. It was a very intense race and after all that to be in the top ten is kind of surprising. We somehow closed the championship deficit, which obviously is important; we're closer into the picture now so we'll see if we can make more ground at Gold Coast."
"It was looking good for a little while there at the end, but this race produces days like today. That's why everybody loves it. It's a shame we couldn't convert our really good car speed and Chaz's phenomenal car speed into a result, but I'm sure there's lots of 'what if' stories up and down pit lane."
#56 MEGA Fuels PRA Ford
"There were periods of the race where we were really strong. Garry did an awesome job today. I didn't think we had the pace there in the drying conditions there at the end that the guys were doing at the front, and if we tried I felt like I wasn't going to bring it home. So we had to make sure that we finished in the end. I'm happy with eighth. It's not really where we wanted to be. I think we could have been a lot further up, given the pace we had in full dry conditions, but I nearly stuck it in a couple times in the last 20 laps, so I'm happy just to make it to the end."
"I feel great. A top ten on your debut at Bathurst is something to be proud of. The first stint was just absolute great fun. I think Brighty did a really good job all weekend just keeping me calm and settled, and just helped me think clear and do what I needed to do. Massive thanks to Prodrive for sticking with me, I was disappointed with my effort at Sandown, but when I got out of the car and got a good cheer after that first stint it was great to be able to give back a good result and a smile to the team."
Tim Edwards, Team Principal:
"Just a very unfortunate finish to the day. We had great pace all weekend, and had great cars all day. Safety cars put us in a couple awkward positions and down the line it hurt us. A lot of things out of our control went against a lot of our cars, but that's what makes this race so hard to win, and so great to win. We'll pack up and move on to Gold Coast."