Halfway through Sunday’s V8 Supercars race in Perth and it seemed nothing could stop Ford team Prodrive Racing Australia from leaving Western Australia with a perfect weekend.
The Blue Oval outfit had split the three pole positions on offer across the weekend amongst drivers Chaz Mostert and Mark Winterbottom while Winterbottom had claimed both of Saturday’s 25-lap races.
For the opening 49 laps of Sunday afternoon’s 83-lap race Winterbottom and Mostert were again dominant and it seemed the only question would be which driver would be claiming the victory.
Instead disaster struck when Erebus Motorsport driver Ash Walsh bogged his Mercedes, sparking a safety car which obliterated Prodrive’s race strategy.
As Winterbottom and Mostert struggled on used tyres, they were swamped by eventual winner Will Davison, and Craig Lowndes.
Mostert was able to come home fourth but Winterbottom limped to 15th place and leaves Perth 74 points behind championship leader Lowndes.
“The first part of today was a bit better than the afternoon to be honest,” Winterbottom said.
“The safety car hurt our strategy a bit.
“We ended up doing ten or so laps extra on our soft tyres than we wanted and mine didn’t hold up as nicely as I would have liked but unfortunately that’s racing.”
Team boss Tim Edwards admitted Sunday’s finish had been tough but was concentrating on the bigger picture from the weekend.
“We qualified really well and started really well but that safety car just came at the wrong time,” Edwards said.
“I think from the weekend overall we can take away a number of positives which is what you want.”