Ipswich Driver View

30 July 2018

Frosty's thoughts on a challenging weekend.

Mark Winterbottom (No. 5 The Bottle-O Ford Falcon FG X) owns four race wins at “the paperclip,” with two in each 2008 and 2015. The 37-year old also moves up another rung on an all-time list this week, as he passes Dick Johnson for the 12th most round starts in ATCC/Supercars history, making the 205thround start of his career. 

The Ipswich SuperSprint consists of Races 19 and 20 of the 2018 Supercars season across the July 20-22 weekend. Friday’s first practice is reserved for additional drivers only, where all four team co-drivers will take the wheel in preparation for the Enduro Cup beginning at Sandown Raceway in September.  

No. 5 The Bottle-O Ford Falcon FG X
Mark Winterbottom
“It’s an interesting track, it’s one that’s always been good for our team. I’m not entirely sure why, but Willowbank’s been quite strong for us. Chaz has always been very strong there, too, so he’s a good benchmark to keep an eye on as well. Winning last year, and having double wins there in 2015, it’s a place where we’ve had good history. Obviously we’re in a bit of a tough time as a team, but at the same time, you go to every race expecting to win until someone tells you otherwise, so we’ll go into Willowbank hopeful of a good result. We’re not giving up. We’ll keep trying, and hopefully it comes.” 

Mark Winterbottom (No. 5 The Bottle-O Ford Falcon FG X) enjoyed a significant turnaround between practice sessions, finishing the afternoon with the fifth quickest lap time after placing 19th in first practice. Richie Stanaway (No. 56 RABBLE.club Ford Falcon FG X) strung together an impressive pair of practice sessions, placing ninth and tenth across the two, building the Kiwi’s confidence heading into his first race round at Ipswich. 

No. 5 The Bottle-O Ford Falcon FG X
Mark Winterbottom
Additional Driver Practice: 1m10.53s, 16th (Dean Canto)
Practice 1: 1m10.08s, 19th
Practice 2: 1m09.43s

“We had a really bad car in Practice 1, we struggled quite a bit, but in Practice 2 I think we tidied it up a lot. The P2 tyres that I ran were not giving us a great read, which was frustrating, but then we put the green tyres on at the end and it made a lot more sense. I feel like we’re pretty close. I feel a lot more comfortable than I feel like I have been for a long time. I was pretty disappointed after Practice 1 and pretty pumped and confident after Practice 2, so it’s a good way to finish the day. We’ll go into tomorrow, one more practice session to try and tune it up again, but we finished nice today, which is better than the alternative, so it was a good day.” 

No. 5 The Bottle-O Ford Falcon FG X
Mark Winterbottom
Practice 3: 1m09.65s, 20th
Race 19 Quali: 1m09.26s, 20th
Race 19 Finish: 20th 

“We had a few issues in qualifying that cost us a lot of grid spots, and it was kind of a nothing race, everyone just goes nose to tail. On our own, our pace was reasonable, but as soon as you get behind the other cars again, you get aero-wash and it gets very hard to pass. Our biggest drama was quali, it put us out of sequence for the race. In the race, on our own our pace was reasonable, but it was very hard to race. I feel more confident we can put the car in better position in qualifying tomorrow, it felt a lot better in the race. We’ve just got to tidy up a few little issues we’ve got and start in a better spot, and with our pace, we’ll race from there.” 

Mark Winterbottom’s (No. 5 The Bottle-O Ford Falcon FG X) day was essentially over on Lap 1, when the 2015 champion was spun by another car at Turn 4, inflicting severe damage to the car’s left rear corner. A lengthy pit stop to fix the damages cost “Frosty” four laps, and with the lack of safety cars or major problems to competitors, finished 26th of 27 cars.

 No. 5 The Bottle-O Ford Falcon FG X
Mark Winterbottom
Race 20 Quali: 1m08.98s, 15th
Race 20 Finish: 26th

“It’s frustrating because you want to actually come away from the race knowing what kind of car you had. If we got turned around and didn’t have damage we could drive and understand what the car is doing, but we made a lot of changes for the race that I thought should have worked. It was a lot like Car 55, he’s clearly had good pace, but the hit on the first lap knocked the roll bar clean off the joint, so I ran around with no rear roll bar, and broke the left rear shock absorber. We come away with nothing, that’s the hard part, just drove around with no roll bar, so we can’t come away and say that change was good or bad, which is disappointing. The only thing we could do different is qualify at the front. At least the team got a result, we have access to all those bits, all that data, and in two weeks’ time we go again.


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