Craig Lowndes takes FPR to Island top five.
April 12, 2003 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) driver Craig Lowndes has gained the newly established Ford V8 Supercar team's first top five qualifying result at Victoria's Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit today.
The 28 year old triple V8 Supercar Champion powered his CAT FPR BA Falcon V8 Supercar to 5th during the highly competitive 40 minute session, held in mild and sunny conditions.
Lowndes set his fastest lap of 1:33.9195s on his second of six laps during the session that saw the top 17 drivers separated by less than one second.
Ford Credit FPR Falcon driver Glenn Seton was in strong form throughout the session, setting a pace that clearly positioned the FPR driver as the fastest AU Falcon driver in the field at 16th (1:34.6031s)
FPV FPR Falcon driver David Besnard has qualified 23rd with a best lap of 1:35.0856s, this pace not indicative of the young charger's potential for tomorrow's long race due to a number of set up problems encountered throughout the day.
Pole position went to HRT driver and defending Champion Mark Skaife with SBR Falcon driver Marcos Ambrose and Holden driver Jason Bright rounding off the top three.
#6 Craig Lowndes - "We know what our strengths will be for the long race tomorrow after our extensive test here last week. This brings us a considerable advantage over the rest of the teams and our qualifying result places us in a good position for the race. There is no doubt that this round represents one of our best chances for a win and we plan to make the most out of it."
#5 Glenn Seton - " That was the fastest lap that I have ever done here on Dunlop tyres, I had some understeer through the high speed corners which cost me some time but I pushed hard everywhere and I am not disappointed with this result. The car feels like a good race car, the balance is OK and I am looking forward to tomorrow."
#19 David Besnard - "We are still coming to grips with this car and it has been tough, but on the positive side we found a number of things during the qualifying session that we can improve on. It is good to see Craig going well and we should have a strong race tomorrow."
John Russell, Chief Engineer - "After the troublesome practice sessions today, we are very pleased with Craig's qualifying position, particularly as we elected not to run a second set of tyres during that session.We are looking forward to a strong shootout performance tomorrow. Glenn put in an excellent performance in his AU Falcon but as we expected, both he and David are now suffering from outdated cars in which we are not developing further."
Lowndes has a chance to further improve on his fifth spot gained in qualifying during tomorrow's Top Ten Shootout starting at 11:50am, before the gruelling 300 kilometre V8 Supercar Championship race which will start at 2:00pm.