After leading 99 laps of the Bathurst 1000 and withstanding heavy rain, fog and a stray kangaroo, Prodrive Racing Australia saw hopes of victory skip away in the final laps.
For the PRA team, this was a case of what could have been as trying conditions caused havoc on the mountain.
For Cameron Waters, lap 145 will be a moment the Sandown 500 winner would like to forget. When restarting following a safety car period, Waters’ was involved in a three-car incident, which damaged the car’s rear spoilers and resulted in a mechanical black flag.
For Mark Winterbottom, lap 159 spin stripped the team of a potential top five finish, while Chaz Mostert salvaged a tenth-place finish after receiving a pair of drive through penalties in lap 145.
The PRA team must take some positives from their efforts on Saturday, which saw Winterbottom qualify third, Chaz Mostert fourth and Cameron Waters qualify in sixth.
Australia’s greatest race is never easy to win and that’s what makes winning Bathurst so special.
The rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of a packed Bathurst crowd.
Prodrive Racing (Australia) started the 2017 Bathurst 1000 with strong efforts on Friday and Saturday, cementing their spot at the sharp end of the 26-car grid. Mark Winterbottom (#5 The Bottle-O 1977 Tribute FG X) qualified third and Chaz Mostert (#55 Supercheap Auto FG X) fourth in the unique one-lap flyer session. Sandown 500 winner Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy FG X) qualified sixth for the 161-lap race around the famed Mount Panorama.
Prodrive Racing became the first team in the history of the event to place four cars in the Shootout, and all four started in the first four rows.
#5 The Bottle-O PRA Ford
Qualifying: 3rd, 2m04.50s
“It’s kind of bizarre, really. Obviously we’re paying tribute to Allan Moffat’s car from 1977, he started third that year and we’re starting third this year. We made good gains with the car between the last practice and the Shootout. What hurt us most was that every time we went out it was doing something different, but we fixed the brake-locking issues we had been having, so I was pretty happy with that session. It’s a long race tomorrow, and with rain in the forecast it’s anyone’s guess what will happen, so we’ll roll out, give it a crack and see what we can do.”
#6 Monster Energy PRA Ford
Qualifying: 6th, 2m04.68s
“It was obviously pretty special to be in the Shootout, so it was cool to get track to yourself and get a good lap. Overall I was probably not super happy with my lap, but good to be starting sixth, and it’s a long day tomorrow.”
#55 Supercheap Auto PRA Ford
Qualifying: 4th, 2m04.59s
“Top ten, done and dusted. I was the eighth car out, and just didn’t really realise how much grip was out there. My mate Mark Winterbottom snuck a quicker time than me, but still really happy to be on the second row. We’re P4 in the end, and obviously congratulations to Scotty Mac. That’s an impressive time, one lap 2:03. We didn’t have it quite today in our car, we’ll get there eventually, but long race tomorrow. The car feels pretty pacey, I think it’s a bit better race car than a qualifying car.”
“We knew it was going to be tough to get pole, but to have all four cars in the top eight is tremendous. The team have done a great job preparing the cars, and the drivers have done their part to get us into good position for the start of the race. Bathurst is always a bit wild, and if it rains it will be even wilder, but we’re looking forward to tomorrow.”
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 Cameron Waters and Chaz Mostert both lead laps.
An incident on a Lap 145 restart removed 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.
Chaz Mostert salvaged a tenth-place finish after a pair of drive-through penalties in addition to the Lap 145 incident that removed him from contention.
Cameron Waters attempt at repeating his Sandown 500 win came up snake eyes with a 16th-place finish, and Winterbottom finished 20th following Frosty’s late shunt.
Mark Winterbottom (co-driving with Dean Canto)
#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.”
Cameron Waters (co-driving with Richie Stanaway)
#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.”
Chaz Mostert (co-driving with Steve Owen)
#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.”
“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.”
Results - Race 18
1) David Reynolds /Luke Youlden - Erebus Penrite Racing
2) Scott Pye/ Warren Luff - Mobil 1 HSV Racing
3) Fabian Coulthard/Tony D'Alberto - Shell V-Power Racing Team
10) Chaz Mostert/ Steve Owen - Supercheap Auto Racing
16) Cameron Waters/ Richie Stanaway -Monster Energy Racing
20) Mark Winterbottom/ Dean Canto – The Bottle-O Racing Team
1) Fabian Coulthard – DJR Team Penske: 2431
2) Jamie Whincup – Triple Eight: 2340
3) Scott McLaughlin – DJR Team Penske: 2334
4) Chaz Mostert – Supercheap Auto Racing: 2208
6) Mark Winterbottom – The Bottle-O Racing Team: 1671
9) Cameron Waters – Monster Energy Racing: 1564
Team Championship Points
1) DJR Team Penske: 4800
2) Triple Eight: 4482
3) Prodrive Racing Australia: 33841