Friendly Fire in Auckland Spoils Waters’ Podium

Cameron Waters could face a “Frosty” reception from teammates Mark Winterbottom and Chaz Mostert after his podium finish in Sunday’s Auckland SuperSprint at Pukekohe.

Mark “Frosty” Winterbottom was the standout driver for Prodrive Racing (Australia) on Saturday, finishing runner-up in Race 23, yet friendly fire on turn eight of the first lap on Sunday resulted in damage to both Winterbottom and Mostert’s Ford cars.

Waters escaped damage when he tried to overtake Winterbottom on turn eight and went on to finish third, while Mostert recovered to seventh after the incident.

Unfortunately, it went from bad to worse for Winterbottom who finished 19th after a pit-lane speeding penalty further hampered his race.

The PRA team will be looking to race more cohesively in Newcastle..

Saturday

Mark Winterbottom (#5 The Bottle-O FG X) is still searching for his first win of 2017, but a runner-up finish in Saturday’s Race 23 from the Auckland SuperSprint proves that the Prodrive Racing (Australia) veteran still has the ability to contend for race victories.

Stacked between Kiwis Shane van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin on the podium, Frosty scored his best finish since Phillip Island and his third podium of the 2017 Supercars season.

With morning qualifying washed out by unsafe track conditions, Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy FG X) started from the pole position having posted the fastest practice lap on Friday, but the sophomore star lost out on chances for his second race win after being caught out by the conditions and going off-track on Lap 33. Waters climbed back to finish ninth in an otherwise quiet performance.

Chaz Mostert (#55 Supercheap Auto FG X) spent most of his day well inside the top ten, but a late incident saw the 25-year old hit with a pit lane drive-through penalty on Lap 64 of 66, dropping him from seventh to 24th, where he would later finish. With the frustrating result, Mostert now sits 210 points arrears of Jamie Whincup in the championship standings and drops to fifth behind van Gisbergen.

Drivers' View 

Mark Winterbottom 
#5 The Bottle-O PRA Ford
Started: 3rd
Finished: 2nd
“It’s a good result. I think the car was pretty good. Just sitting behind (other cars), it was hard with aero wash. I think if we had gotten in front we would have been quite good. It’s really good to be back on the podium, you always back yourself and you knew if the car was right for you you’d be back up here. It’s a nice little reward. The guys have been working really hard, I’ve been in there, probably annoying them more than ever, so it’s just nice to get a result, know that you can still drive and know you can do the job. Good day, good battle. I was almost close enough to have a dive (on van Gisbergen), but just not close enough. We’ll tune up a little bit and see where we go tomorrow. But it’s great to spray champagne again, it’s been a long time.”

Cameron Waters
#6 Monster Energy PRA Ford
Started: 1st
Finished: 9th

“It was a pretty tough and frustrating day. We got away a bit slow due to the wet track but I was trucking along well and caught the guys ahead of me after the first round of stops and I was effectively second or even leading. I just got on a damp patch of the track, locked the rears and that was it. If it hadn’t of been wet I would’ve been fine as there wouldn’t have been any issue, but with the damp patches and the wet grass I was just a passenger. I am pretty frustrated at myself but occasionally these things happen in wet/dry conditions and today they did to me.”

Chaz Mostert
#55 Supercheap Auto PRA Ford
Started: 5th
Finished: 24th

“Today didn’t go to plan at all in the race. We were on the wet line for the start of the race and I dropped back into the pack which made the first part of the race difficult. We got ourselves back into it as the race went on but I just didn’t have the pace I needed. The incident with Dave started off a chain reaction which I obviously didn’t intend. I couldn’t get the car going as fast as I wanted after the contact and that caused the bottleneck which I was trying to stay out of, but the outcome wasn’t great for anyone involved. The result makes our title chances much slimmer but we won’t give up and will come back and try again tomorrow.”

Chris O’Toole
Team Manager

“It was a great job by Frosty and his crew to get back onto the podium. They’ve had their fair share of incidents and bad luck recently despite having reasonable pace so it was a good reward, so to for Jason who avoided all of the chaos and put his love of this track to good use with his best result of the year. Cam came unstuck in the tricky conditions which he’s kicking himself for, but he again showed he has the pace to run at the front and Chaz just got unintentionally caught up and the penalty ruined any chances he had. So it was a mixed day but we have fast cars and will be out to go one better tomorrow.”

Sunday

Friendly fire hampered Prodrive Racing (Australia)’s Sunday at the Auckland SuperSprint, as an opening lap tangle between team-mates spoiled a promising afternoon across the ditch.

The morning saw Chaz Mostert (#55 Supercheap Auto FG X), Mark Winterbottom (#5 The Bottle-O FG X), and Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy FG X) place 3-4-5 in morning qualifying, but the team’s bid for victory all but dissolved on Lap 1. All three PRA drivers connected with each other at Turn 8 in the first lap scramble, spinning Mostert and damaging both his and Winterbottom’s Fords while Waters slipped through to third.

From there, it became a recovery mission for Mostert and Winterbottom, the latter of whom incurred a drive-through penalty following his second stop for exceeding the pit speed limit. Mostert, however, salvaged a seventh place finish to remain mathematically alive in the championship as the season reaches its climax at the end of the month in Newcastle.

Capping a disappointing end to the weekend, Saturday’s runner-up Winterbottom finished off Race 24 in 19th.

Drivers' View 

Mark Winterbottom
#5 The Bottle-O PRA Ford
Started: 4th
Finished: 19th
“There’s not much to say. Frankly our race was ruined by one of our own, so that’s quite disappointing. Cam thought the move was on, but this is the end result and it’s tough to deal with. The car was quick, the team prepared it well, so it goes down as a wasted opportunity. Not the way anyone wanted to end the weekend.”

Cameron Waters
#6 Monster Energy PRA Ford
Started: 5th
Finished: 3rd

“It’s good to get the podium and good for the team to get a podium. Obviously there was a low point on it with the contact at Turn 8 across the three of us. From my point of view, I thought the move was on, I got beside Mark, I got up to his door and got pushed to the inside of the road, but by then Chaz had already committed to turning in. It was all a bit awkward, but we’ll go through the footage and see what happened with that.”

Chaz Mostert
#55 Supercheap Auto PRA Ford
Started: 3rd
Finished: 7th

“Tough, tough day. We qualified well and figured out why we were struggling so much earlier in the weekend, so we had that fixed. The car was really, really fast in the race, but we just got cannonballed on the first lap and ended up turned around, facing the wrong way, back to the end of all the cars, and somehow got back to seventh. That just shows the speed of the car today. But it’s real disappointing for the boys, because today we had a car that should definitely have been on the podium at the least. Not a good end to our New Zealand trip.”

Chris O’Toole
Team Manager

“It was a disappointing outcome to what promised so much after qualifying. For two of the cars to be taken out of contention and one other car implicated puts a hole in the result. We got a podium, but that’s sort of a case of the powers of significance. I’d have much rather had three guys getting a serious result from the pace than ending up like that. I haven’t seen all the footage, but certainly from what I’ve seen it looks like too many cars in a fairly small hole. The stewards have deemed it a racing incident so we’ll discuss it internally but the results stand and our focus is now on Newcastle and converting the pace we have.”

Championship Points

1) Jamie Whincup – Triple Eight: 2850 points
2) Scott McLaughlin – DJR Team Penske: 2820
3) Fabian Coulthard – DJR Team Penske: 2674
4) Chaz Mostert – Supercheap Auto Racing: 2586
7) Cameron Waters – Monster Energy Racing: 2071
8) Mark Winterbottom – The Bottle-O Racing Team: 2058

Team Championship Points

1) DJR Team Penske: 5529 points
2) Triple Eight: 5424
3) Prodrive Racing Australia: 4164