TICKFORD RACING – ADELAIDE 500 FRIDAY REPORT
2 March, 2018
Former Supercars champion Mark Winterbottom led Tickford Racing’s Friday at the Adelaide 500, on a trying afternoon that saw fortune swing away from the team on multiple occasions throughout the day.
Winterbottom placed fourth in Race 1 qualifying, guaranteeing him a spot in his fifth straight Top Ten Shootout dating back to Townsville 2017. Garage mate Chaz Mostert was next in line for the Tickford Racing quartet qualifying 12th, after seeing a lap projected to put him on provisional pole was cancelled when red flags waved for an incident on track before the No. 55 Supercheap Auto Ford crossed the timing line. Newcomer Richie Stanaway qualified 16th in his first Supercars qualifying session, the best of all rookies despite having never lapped the Adelaide circuit before this morning’s first practice session.
The low point of the day for the main game team came in the second practice when Cameron Waters lost control of the No. 6 Monster Energy Ford at the formidable Turn 8 and made light contact with the outside wall. However, the damaged steering arm then failed, sending Car 6 into the opposite wall, inflicting significant damage to the right side of the car. A remarkable repair period involving members of all Tickford Racing crews saw Waters return to the track in the middle of the afternoon’s qualifying session in time to qualify 19th for the first race of 2018.
Winterbottom will contest the Shootout at 11:55 a.m. ACDT Saturday morning following final practice at 9:50. The first race of the 2018 season begins at 3:20 p.m.
No. 5 The Bottle-O Ford Falcon FG X
Qualifying: 4th, 1m20.30s
“We had a pretty good day. After a tough 2017 I’ve been so desperate and hungry to get back out here today, because I always believed in myself, believed in the team, so it was nice to get out there today and give it a crack. The red flags threw a bit of a curveball into it; Chaz would have been in the top ten with us, which would have been great. I think we could have done a 1:19 if I got the proper run. It’s been pretty challenging, which is nice, but to make the Shootout’s great. We go into tomorrow with another opportunity for pole, which was always the goal today – to get into the top ten, and have a crack tomorrow. But I’m feeling fit, feeling strong, feeling hungry, the car looks fantastic, so far so good.”
No. 6 Monster Energy Ford Falcon FG X
Qualifying: 19th, 1m20.89s
“First of all just super proud of the team and how they pulled together to get the car back out there, I thought there was no chance. They all pulled together and worked awesome as a team to get us on track. We qualified 19th and the car wasn’t perfect, but obviously you wouldn’t expect it to be after the rushed repairs. But 19th is better than last, so I’m actually pretty happy, and we’ll be gunning for tomorrow now.”
On the practice incident: “I’m pretty gutted to hit the fence at Turn 8 in practice. We were just trying to do some laps and I didn’t do anything different than I had been doing in the previous laps, it just got loose and slapped me into the fence. The hit at Turn 8 itself wasn’t that bad, it just broke the steering and caused the second impact that did all the damage. Just gutted, really. I think the car was feeling okay.”
No. 55 Supercheap Auto Ford Falcon FG X
Qualifying: 12th, 1m20.59s
“Qualifying didn’t go to plan for us, we believe there’s some speed in the car for sure, but didn’t represent 12th for us. We just had the wrong timing, getting red flags when we were on flying laps. Who knows where we would have ended up, I would like to say we would have been in the ten, to get the track for a lap tomorrow, but just wasn’t our day. Unlucky twice, normally you get it once and you can recover from that, but it happened to us twice. Not ideal, but the car is responding well to changes, and that’s massive for us, so we’re looking forward to more practice tomorrow, and seeing if we can make it a good race car for Saturday.”
No. 56 Tickford Ford Falcon FG X
Qualifying: 16th, 1m20.80s
“If I had said at the start of the day that I’d end disappointed with 16th in my first qualifying I’d be quite surprised, but that’s really how it feels. I think I had it in me and the car to be in the top ten, so I was a little disappointed, I just made a lot of mistakes and left too much time on the table. I think we could have easily been in the ten, but I suppose that’s what being a rookie is all about. You can’t expect to nail it when you haven’t done it before. It’s a long race tomorrow, but the car’s feeling pretty good. The car’s feeling pretty good from Practice 1, the guys have done a good job tuning it. It’s constantly getting better and we were half a second off in my first qualifying, so it’s hard to be upset with that.”
DUNLOP SUPER2 SERIES
Tickford Racing’s Super2 program suffered an even heavier casualty on the day, as Thomas Randle’s first Super2 race ended on Lap 3 when his power steering failed at the entrance to Turn 8, sending him into the wall from ninth place. Unfortunately the damage sustained was too great and Randle will not compete the remainder of the weekend after leading all rookies in each of the three sessions he completed, all in the top ten overall.
No. 5 Skye Sands Ford Falcon FG X
Qualifying: 10th, 1m21.79s
Race 1: DNF, will not compete rest of weekend
“That was the hardest crash I’ve ever had, that’s for sure. We unfortunately had a power steering failure, one of the hard pressure lines just went at the wrong time. You don’t expect those things, ‘crap happens’ is the best way to put it I think. The team have been faultless so far, it doesn’t matter if the parts are ten years old or ten minutes old, things go wrong. But credit to the boys, they gave me an awesome Skye Sands car. I’m fine, it was just a weird experience, going into one of the most brutal corners in Australia and having the steering go. I learned that Turn 8 is not a soft wall, but that’s motor racing sometimes.”
Tim Edwards, Team Principal
“Not the best of days for us on the whole. Everyone appears to have good pace but it’s never good when you smash up two cars on the same day. Hopefully that’s all the bad karma Turn 8 has for us this weekend. It’s good to see Frosty out of the gates strong but tough luck for Chaz with the red flag, and obviously a shame for Cam and Tom. We’ll turn it around tomorrow and see how we go.”