Winterbottom left frustrated by pit issue repeat

Mark Winterbottom

Mark Winterbottom

Ford Performance Racing’s Mark Winterbottom was left frustrated after Race 12 at Barbagallo having endured an embarrassing repeat of the wheel nut issue that had cost him dearly in Adelaide’s season opener.

Winterbottom dropped from ninth to 21st in the pitstop cycle of the Sunday afternoon race due to his slow stop.

The pit problem compounded an off track excursion a lap prior that saw Winterbottom follow Jamie Whincup through the Turn 7 sand trap after finding coolant dropped by Maro Engel’s Mercedes.

Winterbottom eventually salvaged an 11th place finish, leaving the 31-year-old ninth in the championship standings – almost a full event’s worth of points adrift of leader Jamie Whincup.

“The last race obviously didn’t turn out as we wanted due to the pit stop issue,” reflected Winterbottom, who had finished third in Race 11 earlier in the day.

“I was right on (eventual race winner) Jamie (Whincup) when I came in but I dropped to 21st and that was our race done.

“We had two podiums from three races here and without that issue in the last race it would’ve been three so we know we’ve got pace.

“It is frustrating that we’ve had a lot of little things happen throughout the year so far as they are all points we are losing.

“It is disappointing but we aren’t doing much wrong, we just need a bit of luck.”

Team-mate Will Davison also admitted to frustration as pitting a lap too late cost badly in Race 11 and a poor qualifying hampered Race 12.

“It was a bit of a frustrating day especially the first race given I qualified on the front row,” he said.

“I lost out a little in the pit stop cycle with track position but the weekend was by no means a disaster.

“The car was much better in the second race today but I got stuck behind Jason Bright at the end and couldn’t get by.”

Despite the issues, Winterbottom was the fourth highest points scorer of the weekend behind Whincup, Jason Bright and Craig Lowndes.

Will Davison, David Reynolds and Alex Davison were the fifth, seventh and eighth highest scorers respectively, underlining the pace of the team’s Falcons.

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