RICHO MAINTAINS 100% RECORD AS LOWNDES SMASHES FROSTY OUT AT Adelaide Ford Performance Racing's Steven Richards remains the only driver to have finished every Clipsal 500 V8 Supercar round to date; a feat denied team-mate Mark 'Frosty' ...
RICHO MAINTAINS 100% RECORD AS LOWNDES SMASHES FROSTY OUT AT Adelaide
Ford Performance Racing's Steven Richards remains the only driver to have finished every Clipsal 500 V8 Supercar round to date; a feat denied team-mate Mark 'Frosty' Winterbottom by Craig Lowndes' dubious race tactics today.
In the closing stages of the 78-lap race, Lowndes dived up the inside of Frosty's Ford Falcon. The 26-year-old was forced wide into Turn Nine with both cars losing out to Lee Holdsworth and James Courtney as a result.
Lowndes, who stayed ahead of Winterbottom, then repeated the move on Holdsworth and Courtney with this final pass ending in disaster as the two cars crashed out. Frosty's number five car was collected in the process damaging the Orrcon Ford Credit FPR Falcon's front rails, radiator support panel, lights, splitters, air box, coolers, grills and bonnet.
Today's result is particularly disappointing after a great start from both drivers of the Prodrive-run team: Winterbottom snatching the lead from Jamie Whincup off the line and Richards making up two spots to run third.
Richards opted to make his compulsory fuel and tyre stops in quick succession when the pit stop window opened but his promising strategy never reached fruition after a spin on lap 43. His Castrol FPR Falcon made it back to the pits and Richards recovered to finish 15th, maintaining his 100% finishing record at Adelaide.
#5 Mark Winterbottom
Orrcon Ford Credit FPR Falcon
"That was the third person Lowndes had shoved out the way in three laps and I got a good view of him with Holdsworth and Courtney. There was one common factor in all those incidents and he [Lowndes] ended in the pits.
"I could see there was going to be a big shunt but I couldn't pull out of it in time to miss it. I thought they had spun into the wall and would stay there but they advanced back out. It's ruined my weekend; I should have been in the top five no problem.
"We're trying to create good racing but having cars on the sidelines isn't good racing and it's going to be a long season if this is the standard. You're trying to get through a bunch of guys racing for sheep stations but it's not good when cars get damaged; it looks like $80,000-worth to me and that money should be going somewhere else."
#6 Steven Richards
Castrol FPR Falcon
"I don't know how I stay out of trouble really! I just always seem to have a consistent race car when I come here and just manage to keep out of everyone's way. Of course you have to have a good team to help you strategise and keep you out of the carnage.
"The spin was the weirdest thing that's ever happened to me. From about lap 10 I had something in the car spraying water. It wasn't really an issue but just as I was coming into Turn 11 a bit went in my eye. I had to have a blink to clear it; I missed the apex and ended up in the rubbish.
"Overall, the car is clearly very good. I think it's definitely a step up from where we were last year and I think we'll be very strong this year."
FPR Team Principal, Tim Edwards
"We were very optimistic of a good result today because of all the work we've done on fuel economy but in the end it came to nothing because of the driving standards of our competitors. If you make a lunge on somebody and you can't make the corner yourself you should be penalised. Lowndes drove off the track after the pass so he obviously couldn't make the corner; in my book that means something should be done.
"I'm very disappointed that the officials are condoning this. They've assured me they are going to review all the incidents but they clearly need to set fixed guidelines. The incident yesterday between Whincup and Mark still hasn't been investigated fully and the photos show that Whincup didn't have reasonable overlap when he made the pass.
"Aside from all the issues we had, it was a fantastic performance from the team this weekend and we're looking forward to a very strong result at Eastern Creek."