Craig Lowndes Second in First of Three V8 Supercar Grand Finale Races
December 4, 2004 - Ford Performance Racing driver Craig Lowndes made the most from a spectacular start to finish second to newly crowned Ford double Champion Marcos Ambrose in today's first of three V8 Supercar Grand Finale races at Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway.
The CAT FPR Falcon driver was in blistering form throughout the 26 lap, 100 kilometre race to finish 11.8 seconds behind Ambrose, and a mere 7/10ths of a second ahead of Holden rival Jason Bright. This ensures a front row start beside the new blue oval Champion for the first of two 150 kilometre races to be held tomorrow.
Ford Credit FPV Falcon driver Glenn Seton finished 14th after a fighting drive from 23rd on the starting grid. His opening lap effort of making up six positions helped him make his way into the midfield, giving the double Champion a much better starting position for Sunday's remaining races.
Lowndes qualified 7th earlier in the day, after a day of set-up problems encountered in the warm up and practice sessions. He managed to vault into 4th during the top ten shoot-out, his highest shoot-out result for the season. Seton endured a troublesome run throughout practice and qualifying, resulting in his lowly starting position of 23rd.
Both FPR Falcons ran faultlessly throughout the hectic paced Eastern Creek opening race, which for the first time this season was a twilight race that started at 6:30pm.
Thanks to Lowndes' effort in today's race, FPR will have the team's first ever front row start tomorrow in Sydney.
#6 Craig Lowndes - "I spent some time to ensure that my revs were right for the start and because we start on a downhill slope here I was concentrating not to roll forward. My initial start at the green light was good and I got the jump on Mark(Skaife) but I wasn't sure if I could get around him as he gathered it up and was catching me. I had some good momentum going so I decided to go around his right hand side into turn one. By the time we got to the corner I was half a car length in front of him. There was no contact between us as we entered the corner and I tried to give him as much room as I could, but the next time I looked in my mirrors no-one was there. It was a good, solid result for us today, we had a slight delay during my pit stop and I had understeer and oversteer issues throughout the race, so it was a matter of keeping the car as straight as I could to the finish, knowing all the time that Jason (Bright) was right on my tail. With some changes overnight, we should be in much stronger form for tomorrow."
#5 Glenn Seton - "I got off to a great start - It was a very close call with Garth Tander when he had a problem at the start, I almost hit him .I pushed on and picked up a few places to put me in a nuch better position for tomorrow's races. I had two close battles during the race with Cameron McConville and Greg Murphy. I tried to slip down the inside of Murph in turn two and there was some contact in rear from Luff, but that was good racing and I enjoyed it. We are moving in the right direction and tomorrow should be a better day."
FPR Chief Engineer, John Russell - "Our shootout result of 4th was the best top ten result that we have had all year and Craig's race to second consolidates the improvement that the team has made over the past four months. Not a bad day at the office for the team, Glenn improved from his qualifying result and moved up to 14th - giving him the chance to gain better results in the remaining two races. We look forward to starting from the front row tomorrow."
FPR returns to Eastern Creek Raceway at 10:00am Sunday for a warm up and will be racing in two 150 kilometre races scheduled at 12:20pm and 3:40pm EST.