Orrcon Racing Begins The 2004 Grand Finale

Orrcon Racing began their quest to finish on a high in the 2004 V8 Supercar Championship when practice began for the Bigpond Grand Finale at Sydney's Eastern Creek today.

Mark Winterbottom, the leading rookie in the Championship, impressed early during the opening session to be inside the top ten on the damp Eastern Creek circuit. Unfortunately the 23-year-old was unable to maintain his position as the rain cleared and the surface dried significantly.

"The car felt pretty good early but as the track dried I began to suffer from mid-corner understeer costing me a fair bit of time," said Winterbottom.

"While the problem is certainly not dramatic it is highlighted when there are 14 corners on a circuit and if you loose half a tenth in each of them it equals the difference between 5th and 25th."

Winterbottom's Orrcon Racing team mate, Jason Bargwanna was in a similar position during the pair of 35-minute practice sessions.

"It hasn't been one of our better days of the year but the good thing is that we are not lost for ideas on how we can rectify the problem," said Bargwanna.

"There are a couple of issues in the set up that are very minor if they were by themselves but seem to be magnified on a circuit like Eastern Creek.

"We battled against a similar problem that we managed to get on top of when we were here earlier in the year. I am confident that the guys will have a solution by the morning for tomorrow's final qualifying session of the year."

Following the combination of the times in both sessions Bargwanna was placed 17th at the end of the day with Winterbottom 25th, just over a second behind the fastest driver Marcos Ambrose.

Ambrose was fastest followed by Jason Bright and Mark Skaife.

Qualifying and race one will be held tomorrow with the Championship culminating in a pair of 39-lap races on Sunday afternoon.

Network Ten will be telecasting the top ten shootout from 4:00 until 5:00pm on Saturday with the opening race telecast live from 6:00pm. The telecast continues on Sunday with four hours of coverage from 1:00pm.