Edwards: No black armbands at Prodrive

The Bottle-O Ford at Sandown

The Bottle-O Ford at Sandown

Tim Edwards expects Prodrive squad to bounce back strongly at Bathurst next month following a troubled weekend for his squad at Sandown.

Mark Winterbottom declared his title defence “cactus” after an early mistake from co-driver Dean Canto saw The Bottle-O Ford finish two laps down in 23rd place.

Winterbottom, who also finished outside the top 10 in the previous two races at Sydney Motorsport Park, is now 346 points adrift of championship leader Shane van Gisbergen.

While Chaz Mostert, who finished fifth on Sunday, has scored five pole positions this season, a victory for Winterbottom at Barbagallo in May remains Prodrive’s only race win of 2016 to date.

Last year the team headed to Bathurst with 15 wins already under its belt, including a one-two at Sandown.

“We’ve got to put any thought of the championship to the back of our mind and just win as many races as we can,” Edwards told Speedcafe.com.

“It’s certainly not ‘black armbands’ where we’re at. I think the car is still pretty competitive.

“Frosty was happy with the car when he hoped out, he was just two laps down.

“It was a character building weekend at Sandown but we can still draw a few positives.

“It wasn’t a car pace issue because we were there or thereabouts.

“It was just a multitude of things that went horribly wrong.”

Dean Canto

Dean Canto

Edwards backed his team’s decision to leave co-driver Canto on slick tyres during the wet second stint on Sunday.

Canto was being overtaken by a wet-shod Ash Walsh on lap 55 when he understeered off and into the barriers at slow speed.

The highly experienced Canto later describing the track condition as being “like ice”.

Edwards said it was Canto’s incident on the first corner of Saturday’s qualifying race that led to the risky tyre strategy.

“The first corner of quali race one really put us on the back foot,” said Edwards.

“That leads you to take aggressive strategy decisions like running on the dry tyres and things like that on a slippery track.

“You’re always going to take the riskier strategy in that scenario.

“With a category this close, gone are the days where you can just drive through the field.

“You’ve got to be aggressive on strategy to get yourself back in the race.”

Prodrive also left its Super Black Ford out on slicks in the second stint, where co-driver Richie Stanaway excelled.

Stanaway and Chris Pither eventually finished 17th, while the fourth Prodrive entry – driven by Cameron Waters and Jack Le Brocq – retired with engine failure.

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