Drivers Thoughts on Tailem Bend Round
Frosty shows promise on Saturday with a 5th place finish.
Sitting 13th in the standings with six rounds to go, Mark Winterbottom (No. 5 The Bottle-O Ford Falcon FG X) makes his 207th round start this weekend, 12thin Australian touring car history. Winterbottom spent a day at The Bend last week scoping out the circuit, and sampled a Kuhmo V8 Touring Car to get his first laps around the 4.95-kilometre, 18-turn permanent circuit, and a glimpse of what the weekend could entail. Sitting 13th in the standings with six rounds to go, Mark Winterbottom (No. 5 The Bottle-O Ford Falcon FG X) makes his 207th round start this weekend, 12thin Australian touring car history. Winterbottom spent a day at The Bend last week scoping out the circuit, and sampled a Kuhmo V8 Touring Car to get his first laps around the 4.95-kilometre, 18-turn permanent circuit, and a glimpse of what the weekend could entail.
EVENT NAME: The Bend SuperSprint
DATE: August 24-26
LOCATION: Tailem Bend, South Australia
EVENT NUMBER: 11 of 16
FORMAT: Friday – VASC Practice x 2; Saturday –VASC Practice x 1, VASC Qualifying x 1, VASC Race x 1 (24 laps, 120 km); Sunday – VASC Qualifying x 1, VASC Race x 1 (41 laps, 200km)
CIRCUIT: The Bend Motorsport Park
DESCRIPTION: Erected over the past year, The Bend is the newest circuit in Australia and the most recent addition to the Supercars calendar. While Supercars will race on the 4.95-km International Circuit, the 7.77-km GT Circuit is the second longest permanent circuit in the world, behind the Nordschliefe in Germany.
No. 5 The Bottle-O Ford Falcon FG X
“It’s really exciting. I did ten laps last week, which I think was really cool. It was good to get a taste of the track, and it’s going to be a really tough track to get right. It’s one of those undulating, fast, flowing tracks, one of the best that we’ve got in the country, so I’m really excited to see what it’s like in my own car. It is one of the best tracks we’ve got, and to showcase our cars on the best tracks is what it’s all about, so I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully we can have a good run before enduros and try to turn our season around.”
Practice 1: 1m51.38s, 12th
Practice 2: 1m50.56s, 9th
“The new track surface just creates a lot of instability in the car, so I struggled to put a lap together. If you could piece it all together you’d be a lot better, but it’s hard to piece it all together. We’re just trying to make the rear grip up, that’s the goal tonight. I dropped a lot of time in two corners in particular. If you nail it you do a good time, but if not there’s a reason you didn’t nail it, so we’ll fix our weakness tonight and go again tomorrow. It’s a tough track, but you can make time quite quickly around here.” It was Mark Winterbottom (No. 5 The Bottle-O Ford Falcon FG X) leading Tickford Racing home on Saturday, finishing fifth in Race 22 from The Bend SuperSprint. The veteran led the four car team in all three on-track sessions on the day, scoring his first top five since Race 11 at Barbagallo Raceway in May. Winterbottom also climbs into 12th in the drivers championship with nine races remaining in the season.
Practice 3: 1m49.81s, 2nd
Race 22 Quali: 1m50.99s, 6th
Race 22 Finish: 5th
“It was a good, pretty clean race. We struggled with a bit of front grip in the car, and we put rear tyres on at the pit stop, and that probably escalated the front grip as well. We pretty much had a stalemate where we were, the only car that came through that was quick was (Jamie) Whincup, and I saw where he was quick. We’ve still got work to do obviously, but we’ll take a fifth. With P2 in practice and P6 in quali, it was a pretty consistent day, which for Car 5 hasn’t happened for a while, so you’ve got to take the positives out of the day. It’s small steps, and hopefully it’s the start of something for the Enduros, so we’ll keep trucking on tomorrow.” Despite a positive feeling coming out of Saturday, Sunday’s script was not as friendly to Tickford Racing at Tailem Bend. After numerous qualifying hurdles placed all four cars outside the top ten at the start, the brightest result came from Chaz Mostert (No. 55 Supercheap Auto Ford Falcon FG X), who climbed from 24th starting spot to finish 12th in Race 23.
Race 23 Quali: 1m49.96s, 17th
Race 23 Finish: 16th
“We tried a different strategy to most of the field today, but it just didn’t work out for us. It wasn’t the right call in the end, we had a few dramas just with carrying the fuel load for a long time, so our strategy wasn’t where we needed it to be. The car speed was pretty average, so we were just cruising along in position most of the race. And once you got close to someone you got aero wash, so either we had that or when I was trying to pass someone we had a full tank of fuel on board. It was difficult, but we’ll see what happens next round.”