Eastern Creek: FPR Saturday report

FPR FALCON DRIVERS 6TH & 8TH IN DELAYED EASTERN CREEK PRACTICE June 9, 2007 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) drivers Steve Richards and Mark Winterbottom have set the 6th and 8th fastest lap times of today's opening practice session for Round 5...

FPR FALCON DRIVERS 6TH & 8TH IN DELAYED EASTERN CREEK PRACTICE

June 9, 2007 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) drivers Steve Richards and Mark Winterbottom have set the 6th and 8th fastest lap times of today's opening practice session for Round 5 of the 2007 Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series at Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway.

The torrential rainstorms that swept through Sydney and most of the northern New South Wales coast over the past 48 hours continued well into today, causing major problems all over the region as well as at Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway.

Excessive water running across the circuit forced race officials to postpone the earlier scheduled support racing category practice sessions with only the V8 Utes permitted on the circuit before V8 Supercar practice. The practice session was scheduled to start at 1:15pm, but didn't get underway until 2:52pm on a wet and drying circuit.

Both FPR Falcon drivers were in strong form throughout practice on a very slippery circuit with uncertain grip levels due to the conditions. Low levels of wind ensured that the circuit would take a long time to dry, keeping lap times well under that set during FPR's last visit to Eastern Creek Raceway in 2005.

Richards' Castrol FPR Falcon ended the first hour of practice at 6th fastest with Winterbottom's Orrcon Ford Credit FPR Falcon close behind at 8th, using dry weather / slick tyres. By the end of the second 75 minutes of practice both FPR Falcon drivers remained in the same positions.

#6 Steve Richards - "The conditions made it very difficult to tell how good the set up of the car really was, it just depended on when you were out on the track and what the conditions were like at the time. There were certain points where the car felt great, but there were also certain conditions where it wasn't as good, like when you were driving on slicks on a wet track, but that's pretty standard in conditions like we experienced today."

Craig Lowndes set today's fastest lap time (1:38.6954s) which was almost nine seconds slower than Marcos' Ambrose practice record set at the western Sydney circuit back in 2001. Garth Tander was second best today at 9/10ths of a second behind Lowndes, with James Courtney 1.1 seconds adrift in third.

#5 Mark Winterbottom - "It was a bit touch and go as to whether or not we would get out there but it was good to have a run in the end. The majority of the circuit was wet, but a couple of corners were dry, so it gave us an idea of what the car is like here. In the wet the worst we were was third, in the dry we only got one good lap in where everyone else seemed to have a few more laps. I think we should be up the front somewhere tomorrow if the conditions are similar. If not, it will be a bit of a lottery as everyone isn't sure of what their dry circuit set up should be."

FPR Motorsport Director, Tim Edwards - "The constantly changing conditions made it hard going for everyone today and considering the low grip levels, both of our FPR Falcons were reasonably quick today. We'll see what the weather brings tomorrow."

Pending no further weather problems, this historic V8 Supercar round being held over Australia's Queens Birthday public holiday long weekend will see FPR return for qualifying and the first of three 31 lap races tomorrow, (Sunday June 10) with the second and third heats of the round to be run on Monday June 11.

-credit: fpr

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Series Supercars
Drivers James Courtney , Garth Tander , Craig Lowndes , Mark Winterbottom , Steve Richards , Tim Edwards