Prodrive Racing (Australia)'s Mark Winterbottom is pleased with The Bottle-O Racing FG X's strong pace in practice at Pukekohe Park Raceway, finishing third overall.
Following a change in the final session, Winterbottom believes further improvements can be made overnight ahead of tomorrow's two qualifying sessions.
The category's switch to the hard tyre for the Auckland SuperSprint has proved fruitful on the track with 11 drivers, including Winterbottom, setting times under the former practice lap record.
Red flags riddled the three practice sessions with debris on the track the main cause.
Sand at turns two and three caught many drivers out, including Chaz Mostert in the final session.
After making contact with the wall, Mostert completed the final practice with minimal damage to finish 15th overall.
Local Chris Pither enjoyed acclimatising to the Pukekohe track in a Supercar as the team ran through a number of setup changes throughout the day.
Cameron Waters says there are positives and negatives to take from practice as the Monster Energy team moved to teammate Winterbottom's setup later in the day in an effort to find further pace.
Mark Winterbottom - #1 The Bottle-O PRA Ford: 3rd – 1m02.182s
"It was a good day. We made gains and losses but we're really in a setup window which is really cool. I had a really fun day so hopefully we can take that speed into tomorrow and if we were racing today we would have had a chance of winning and that's a good feeling. Proud of the team really because the car at the last couple of rounds hasn't quite been there so I'm feeling comfortable again and actually feeling like I'm doing the number one proud so it's good to be back up there."
Cameron Waters - #6 Monster Energy PRA Ford: 20th – 1m02.856s
"Not a great day for us. We rolled out and I thought the car was okay but just ended up really nowhere with it so we put Frosty's setup in and it was a little bit better but still not 100 per cent. We'll work on the car overnight but I think there are a few little techniques I can use to get the most out of it as well so we'll just work on it and see how we go tomorrow."
Chaz Mostert - #55 Supercheap Auto PRA Ford: 15th – 1m02.636s
"Today wasn't quite as bad as it looked on the time sheets, I just didn't quite get a proper lap together after sliding in that last session but I think we have a good car. It was strong early in the day and I don't think we're too far off. There are a few little things that we can look at but I'm just really looking forward to giving it a good go in qualifying tomorrow."
Chris Pither - #111 Super Black PRA Ford: 24th – 1m03.031s
"This track is a lot of fun in a Supercar. It's been a while since I've been here so to get back out there in the Super Black Racing Ford in front of a home crowd was fantastic. I really enjoyed it out there today but we don't quite have the pace we need just yet. We tried a few different things during the day and we will look at it again overnight to try and qualify up the front and have a chance of a good result at home."
Tim Edwards – Team Principal:
"We had two cars today that had strong setups and two that we need to work on a bit. We know we have a good base to work from with Frosty's car. They've put a good package together for car one and we tried a few things with the others but the benchmark is there. We've got strong pace on the hard tyre and qualifying tomorrow will be particularly important but the reality is there isn't much it in it. The cars are separated by just over a second so I'm confident we'll be competitive."
DRIVER CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS
1) Shane van Gisbergen – Triple Eight: 2812
2) Jamie Whincup – Triple Eight: 2664
3) Craig Lowndes – Triple Eight: 2427
4) Scott McLaughlin – Garry Rogers Motorsport: 2351
5) Will Davison – Tekno: 2235
6) Mark Winterbottom – Prodrive Racing: 2139
7) Chaz Mostert – Prodrive Racing: 2039
17) Cameron Waters – Prodrive Racing: 1296
18) Chris Pither– Super Black Racing: 1249
1) Triple Eight: 5486
2) HRT: 3613
3) GRM: 3558
4) Prodrive Racing Australia: 3460