STEVE RICHARDS SIXTH IN EASTERN CREEK OPENER June 10, 2007 - Ford Performance Racing's (FPR) start to the long weekend's fifth round of the V8 Supercar Championship at Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway has resulted in a top six finish for Castrol...
STEVE RICHARDS SIXTH IN EASTERN CREEK OPENER
June 10, 2007 - Ford Performance Racing's (FPR) start to the long weekend's fifth round of the V8 Supercar Championship at Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway has resulted in a top six finish for Castrol FPR Falcon driver Steve Richards, while Orrcon Ford Credit FPR Falcon driver Mark Winterbottom raced to 11th place.
Held on a completely dry circuit this afternoon, the conditions were the opposite to those experienced during Saturday's practice, which was held on a wet and greasy circuit, not allowing the opportunity for dry weather set-ups to be optimised, aside from the relatively short Sunday morning qualifying session. (Earlier in the day, Richards' qualified 5th and Winterbottom 11th ).
Richards was one of only five drivers to set a lap time within the 1 minute and 33 second bracket, his fastest lap time of 1:30.7562 was the third fastest of the race. The 34 year old Victorian driver fended off the constant advances of rival Garth Tander during the early stages and Russell Ingall during the later stages.
Winterbottom raced within the top ten at 9th position for most of the race, being kept extremely busy with a rear vision mirror full of Ford rivals Craig Lowndes and Steven Johnson. After defending his position strongly until the final lap, an overtaking move by Lowndes saw Winterbottom lose track position to both drivers by the chequered flag.
The closely contested opening race at Eastern Creek saw both FPR Falcon drivers competing under immense pressure from the start to the finish of the 31 lapper, with both Richards and Winterbottom ensuring valuable points earning results in a race which at times saw a significant amount of panel contact, but just one Safety Car caution period.
Today's race was won by Mark Skaife ahead of Jamie Whincup and Rick Kelly.
#6 Steve Richards - " It is one of the better starts to the weekend which we have had so far this season. The aim of the weekend is to get a solid number of points and we're on track to achieve this. We've got a few things we'll try with the car for tomorrow's races to improve it. I've got a little bit too much understeer at the moment which forces you to drive on the throttle which affects the life of the rear tyres in the long term. If we can get the car's mid-corner turn-in better, I am confident that we will be able to run with the front guys tomorrow."
#5 Mark Winterbottom -" "The race was ok but we've still got a few problems with the set-up of the car. It is not doing what I want it to do in some areas, so we will be working on improving it for tomorrow. I got up to about eighth position but lucked out a bit towards the end of the race when I was trying to pass a couple of people and got caught on the wrong side of the road. If we can improve the car slightly for tomorrow we will be closer to the mark."
FPR Motorsport Director Tim Edwards - "A challenging start to the weekend, as the lack of dry running yesterday placed us on the back foot heading into qualifying and for today's race. We showed some progress in the race and once we have made some more changes we intend to be faster in both races tomorrow."
FPR returns to Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway for the second and third races to decide the round tomorrow (Monday June 11) at 11:50am and 3:40pm.