Prodrive Racing (Australia) has returned to the top step of the podium after an inspired drive by reigning champion Mark Winterbottom in Perth.
Winterbottom bucked the trend and only pitted twice for tyres, holding on to win in a thrilling last-lap battle from Scott McLaughlin and Craig Lowndes.
The Bottle-O driver ran his own race and managed his tyres following a tumultuous Saturday race which reduced his Sunday strategy options. The win was almost derailed in the closing laps when a back-marker interfered with Winterbottom's pace, but the champion regrouped and claimed his first win since taking the title.
Team-mates Chaz Mostert and Chris Pither were in the battle throughout with pole-sitter Mostert especially feisty in numerous multi-car battles.
Mostert came home sixth while Pither backed up a solid Saturday with 13th and lots of experience from battling at the front all weekend.
Cameron Waters did not have the day he planned; qualifying 14th but only finishing 26th after a severe lock-up damaged his tyres after his second of three scheduled stops.
Mark Winterbottom - #1 The Bottle-O PRA Ford:
Race 9: 1st
"It is nice we redeemed ourselves today and came back from our disappointment on Saturday. To turn up today and qualify reasonably well but also having a set of tyres less due to my error yesterday, to make two stops work was a massive effort from everyone in the team. I didn’t get into any battles and we ran consistent times, intentionally not tearing the tyres up. It was a great strategy, great effort all round for the team and it’s nice to be winning again. It’s my first for The Bottle-O and first with number one on the car so it’s a special victory.”
Cameron Waters - #6 Monster Energy PRA Ford:
Race 9: 26th
"The weekend as a whole was actually fairly good. We learnt a lot and to get the pole was awesome. Saturday’s race was affected by the tyre degradation we had but today I didn’t maximise my qualifying run. The race car was better and a top 10 was on but I locked a brake on my out lap after my second stop. I am not really sure why as I hadn’t had that issue before but we’re going to come out firing at Winton.”
Chaz Mostert - #55 Supercheap Auto PRA Ford:
Race 9: 6th
"Tough weekend for us despite getting pole. Our qualifying speed was strong but for me I lacked tyre life in the races and I am unsure if it is me given Frosty seemed to make it work well today. We have some data to go over when we get home. I am happy the car is straight and we’ve clawed back some positions in the championship. We need to be more consistent as this is a track where we normally perform much stronger.”
Chris Pither - #111 Super Black PRA Ford:
Race 9: 14th
"I was pretty pumped after qualifying which was another good confidence booster. After yesterday I knew we could get up the front again. The race was reasonable. I don’t think we finished quite where we should’ve. We got held up a little and tyres dropped off and you can’t come back once they do. To come away with the results we had I am pretty happy with. Overall it was a big boost for my confidence so I am looking forward to the next one.”
Tim Edwards – Team Principal:
"Today was a brilliant execution of our strategy which needed patience and control and Mark delivered both of those things to score one of our best ever wins. After yesterday we knew we had work to do on tyre life and our team did what they do best and today was the proof of that effort. Chaz on pole, Chris qualifying and racing up front this weekend and Cam taking his first pole are all positive signs. We can’t and won’t rest on these performances but it gives us all a massive boost heading into our home event at Winton. It’s also a nice present for all our mums who are missing out this Mother’s Day.”
Prodrive Racing (Australia) completed a clean-sweep of the weekend in the Dunlop Series with Jack Le Brocq winning the final two races of the event to take the joint series lead with team-mate Garry Jacobson. Le Brocq drove a commanding final race and just narrowly won the second race – claiming the win by the closest win in series history.
Jack Le Brocq - #5 GoGetta Racing PRA Ford:
Race 2: 1st
Race 3: 1st
“We knew after Phillip Island we didn’t want a repeat of that poor weekend and I cleared my head leading up to the weekend and we were fast whether it was wet or dry which was great. I just got out there and got on with the job and now we’re joint leaders in the championship so I couldn’t be happier.”
PERTH SUPERSPRINT RESULTS
1) Mark Winterbottom – The Bottle-O Racing Team
2) Scott McLaughlin – Garry Rogers Motorsport
3) Craig Lowndes – Triple Eight
4) Shane Van Gisbergen – Triple Eight
5) Rick Kelly – Kelly Racing
6) Chaz Mostert – Supercheap Auto Racing
14) Chris Pither – Super Black Racing
26) Cameron Waters – Monster Energy Racing
DRIVER CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS
1) Craig Lowndes – Triple Eight: 894
2) Jamie Whincup – Triple Eight: 852
3) Scott McLaughlin – Garry Rogers Motorsport: 846
4) Mark Winterbottom – The Bottle-O Racing Team: 816
12) Chaz Mostert – Supercheap Auto Racing: 563
20) Cameron Waters – Monster Energy Racing: 460
24) Chris Pither– Super Black Racing: 313
1) Triple Eight: 1655
2) HRT: 1402
3) Garry Rogers: 1317
4) Prodrive Racing (Australia): 1276