MARK WINTERBOTTOM & STEVE RICHARDS TO START FROM POLE POSITION AT BATHURST 1000 Ford Performance Racing has made its intentions clear for Sunday's Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 by racing to the Prodrive team's first Bathurst Pole position after...
MARK WINTERBOTTOM & STEVE RICHARDS TO START FROM POLE POSITION AT BATHURST 1000
Ford Performance Racing has made its intentions clear for Sunday's Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 by racing to the Prodrive team's first Bathurst Pole position after today's closely contested top ten shoot-out at the majestic Mount Panorama circuit.
The outstanding 26 year old FPR Falcon driver gained his first Bathurst Pole position in his first qualifying attempt in four visits to Australia's biggest motor racing event. His fastest single lap shoot out time of 2:07.0908s headed off HRT rival Mark Skaife with Garth Tander third. This also marks FPR's first Bathurst Pole position in five years of competing in the world's most competitive Touring Car Category.
Winterbottom's driving partner and double Bathurst Champion Steve Richards has gained his second Bathurst Pole position start as a result of his team mate's effort and his own valuable input and experience during the entire weekend.
Orrcon Ford Credit FPR Falcon drivers Owen Kelly and Matt Halliday will start tomorrow's Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 from 24th on the grid. While there is no doubt that the two FPR enduro drivers have their work cut out for them, the 161 lap, six and a half hour race provides ample opportunity for progression through the field.
#6 Mark Winterbottom - "I think we have silenced the critics yesterday who were vocal about the serious business taking place in qualifying as we are on Pole position and this says a great deal about our form for the race tomorrow. It is an unbelievable feeling to get my first Pole position at Bathurst and no matter what happens tomorrow, just being the Bathurst polesetter is a massive achievement. I'm lucky that I got to drive the car but Richo was there with me for the whole lap, not matter which one of us drove in the shoot-out I think we would have been on pole with the great car the team gave me today. What makes this more special is the fact that the car stepped out on me under brakes into the left hander at The Chase. I thought I'd try and make some time up under brakes where our car was strong, but the track was a little bit dirty and the tyre temperature wasn't quite right so I had a bit of a wobble. Luckily I caught it up and saw that I hadn't lost too much time. The car is very easy to drive, which is just what you need for a 1000 kilometre race. This place is where dreams are made for racing drivers and to win the race tomorrow would be a lifetime dream come true. Richo has won this race twice and he has told me some of the stories from when he won, hopefully we'll have some stories of our own to tell tomorrow afternoon."
#6 Steve Richards - "To get Pole position is a damn good start to the race, that's for sure. It is what we were planning to do and I'm sure that there were lots of teams planning to do it as well. Frosty did a fantastic job during the shoot-out but we both know that there is still long way to go before we can really celebrate. We've had a really solid lead up to the race so far and each day we've come away having achieved the things we set out to accomplish. While I couldn't be happier right now, there are still 161-laps to go tomorrow and we will spend a little while celebrating before getting into serious preparation for the great race."
FPR Team Principal Tim Edwards - "Awesome, absolutely awesome! An absolutely fantastic lap by Mark and a real credit to everybody at FPR who have worked tirelessly tick this first box in our Bathurst 2007 campaign. Now the real task begins of preparing the FPR Falcons for tomorrow and finalising our strategy. Roll on the champagne at 5:30pm tomorrow!"
FPR returns to Bathurst's Mount Panorama circuit at 7:10am for a 20 minute warm up session before lining up at the front of the 30 car field for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 which is scheduled to start at 10:30am. FPR has twice finished second in the Bathurst 1000 in five attempts since 2003.