SOFT OPTION COSTS FPR Barbagello's abrasive circuit combined with today's soaring heat saw Ford Performance Racing err on the side of caution with V8 Supercars' sprint tyre but the strategy proved too conservative. Steve Richards had his quick...
SOFT OPTION COSTS FPR
Barbagello's abrasive circuit combined with today's soaring heat saw Ford Performance Racing err on the side of caution with V8 Supercars' sprint tyre but the strategy proved too conservative.
Steve Richards had his quick but short-lived sprint tyres in reserve after not using them in yesterday's race. The team was hoping for a safety car today to give Richo the best advantage for passing using the grippy rubber, but when it came there were still 43 laps to run.
FPR engineers decided the softs would struggle to make the end and opted not to pit the Castrol FPR Falcon. The rest of the race was a tense wait as crew watched the timing screens to see if they had made the right decision.
In the end the softs proved more durable than expected, only just dropping off in pace in the last few laps. Richo made the best of his fresher rubber, passing ten cars to reach eighth by the chequered flag.
Mark Winterbottom's car made huge advances on yesterday, qualifying second for today's race. The Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon was without sprint tyres after using them yesterday, however, and finished 17th.
FPR will be back in action at the much anticipated Homebush street race in Sydney in two weeks' time.
Castrol FPR Falcon
"I knew there was like 40 laps to go as the safety car came out. The problem was all the guys that pitted at the safety car got past me before I pitted. We basically gave ourselves a 37-second handicap.
"It's hard for me because I'm just driving the car and you have to assume the crew knows something you don't. In-car you really don't know what's going on. I could see if we had another safety car we were going to be in the box seat but it just never came."
Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon
"The car in the first half of the race was awesome. When the safety car came out I was in good shape right behind Whincup and I really thought I had his pace. We changed the rears and when I went back out I was going nowhere.
"We made massive improvements so to get second in qualifying was really good. Whincup has had good pace all weekend so it was nice to be close and challenging but I don't think there was anything left to get pole. At some tracks second is as good as pole."
FPR Team Principal
"We just went for a conservative approach and it could have been a great strategy if there'd been a second safety car. With fresher rubber, Richo would have had a good shot for a podium.
"The soft tyres put on a good spectacle so it's a good thing for the sport but I hate the randomness. It's very frustrating from a team perspective when you know you've only got one shot at it."