Hidden Valley: FPR Sunday report

FPR FALCON DRIVERS FINISH 6TH & 9TH AT HIDDEN VALLEY June 24, 2007 - The Ford Performance Racing (FPR) V8 Supercar Team has made the most from an action packed Sky City Triple Challenge, Round 6 of the Championship, held at Darwin's Hidden...

FPR FALCON DRIVERS FINISH 6TH & 9TH AT HIDDEN VALLEY

June 24, 2007 - The Ford Performance Racing (FPR) V8 Supercar Team has made the most from an action packed Sky City Triple Challenge, Round 6 of the Championship, held at Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway this weekend to gain two top ten finishes.

Steve Richards raced consistently throuhgout the top-end round in the Castrol FPR Falcon after qualifying 6th, but the 34 year old driver experienced braking and traction problems throughout the round's three races. Richards qualified impressively at 6th and finished 7th in race one, 9th in race two and 8th in race three, gaining 30 Championship points to place him 6th overall for the round. This was Richards' third consecutive 6th place round finish of the 2007 season and it was also his 6th top ten result out of his past six visits to Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway.

After qualifying his Orrcon Ford Credit FPR Falcon at 7th, Mark Winterbottom recovered from a major first lap crash in Saturday's opening race, to drive superbly from 26th on the grid to finish 6th in race two, consolidating this result with another strong sixth place in race three. These results earned the 26 year old driver 24 points towards his Championship total, placing him 9th overall for the round. His race two and three results were also the young driver's best race finishes since race three at Pukekohe back in April.

Richards has now elevated his Championship position to 7th following Round 6 (145 points), with team mate Winterbottom now in 8th position (140 points), with eight rounds remaining in the 2007 series.

While FPR was expecting stronger results from this round given following the team's history at this venue, the points that the team did gain are the direct result of the determination of every member of the FPR crew. They ensured that Winterbottom's heavily damaged FPR Falcon was in perfect shape for today's final two races of the round and that this was achieved at no cost to the preparation and pace of the team's sister car.

The 10th Darwin V8 Supercar round was won by Ford driver Craig Lowndes with Holden drivers Rick Kelly and Mark Skaife second and third. A total of 40,891 specatators attended over the three days with today's race two and three spectator attendance setting a new record (20,323).

#6 Steve Richards - "Being consistent is what it is all about to progress in this Championship and the 30 points gained here has moved me into the Championship top ten. Aside from the braking difficulties that I experienced, we managed to get the balance of the car much better by race three. The weekend has been a mixture of improving and not improving the car, but we have gained a good result through our consistent pace and learned a great deal as well."

#5 Mark Winterbottom - "If someone came to me this morning and said that I would be getting two sixth place finishes in the races today after yesterday's accident I wouldn't have believed them - so it is good to have gained 24 points from nothing yesterday. Race two was great, but I struggled in race three, as the cool suit stopped working and the drink bottle plug pulled out. The water in the cool suit then heated up and it was like having a hot water bottle on me throughout the race, I struggled in the heat and flat spotted a tyre on the left front. We have come out of this round pretty well considering the circumstances."

FPR Motorsport Director, Tim Edwards - "After a disastrous start to the weekend yesterday it was great to get both cars to the finish today. Mark's drive in race two was particularly impressive, making up 20 places in an outstanding effort. Steve was consistent all weekend, as we didn't have the pace that we were expecting to have here so we need to do some more homework. The team worked extremely hard this weekend and we have gained points as a consequence."

FPR & MARK WINTERBOTTOM CONFIRM A FURTHER THREE YEARS TOGETHER

FPR is delighted to announce that the team has excercised its three year option on agreed terms with team driver Mark Winterbottom, ensuring that he will continue racing with the Prodrive V8 Supercar team for the next three years. Winterbottom joined FPR at the start of the 2006 season and in a stellar performance finished third in the V8 Supercar Drivers' Championship. In his 19 Championship rounds contested with FPR to date, Winterbottom has raced to one round victory, 11 top five round results, 13 top ten round results and one Pole position with much more expected from this exciting young driver and FPR in the future.

According to FPR Motorsport Director Tim Edwards, "Mark has been a fantastic asset to the team over the past 18 months and both sides were keen to make sure that we have a long term partnership. We believe in Mark for the future and he certainly believes in us for the future. It is fantastic that we are able to put his contract renewal to bed so early in the season, so we can concentrate on moving forward with some great results for the rest of the year."

Winterbottom is delighted to have secured his future with FPR, "It is every race driver's dream to be able to drive for a major factory supported team so it is fantastic to be announcing our continuation together. FPR had faith in me 18 months ago and gave me the chance to compete in V8 Supercars at an elite level and it is excellent that it has worked out so well for both of us. I am looking forward to a very successful future with the team."

-credit: fpr

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Series Supercars
Drivers Rick Kelly , Mark Skaife , Craig Lowndes , Mark Winterbottom , Steve Richards , Tim Edwards