August 15, 2004 - Race day at Sydney's Oran Park Raceway started dramatically for Ford Performance Racing (FPR) when Ford Credit FPV Falcon driver Glenn Seton crashed at the start of the morning warm-up session. The high speed accident saw Seton...
August 15, 2004 - Race day at Sydney's Oran Park Raceway started dramatically for Ford Performance Racing (FPR) when Ford Credit FPV Falcon driver Glenn Seton crashed at the start of the morning warm-up session.
The high speed accident saw Seton impact a tyre barrier under the bridge section of the 2.6 kilometre circuit. The tyre bundle was secured to the ground by a metal grate that flew under the car causing significant damage. By the time the car was returned to the pits the team had little more than 35 minutes available for the extensive repairs required. The FPR crew worked frantically to replace the right front upright, the upper and lower control arms, both the gearbox and engine coolers, rotor, right front door, side skirt and front guard. All the work was completed within one minute of the pit lane being closed, sadly ending Seton's ability to compete in the first race.
CAT FPR Falcon driver Craig Lowndes lined up for the start of the first 54 lap race from 19th on the grid. After a good start, the triple Champion made up one spot to 18th on the first lap and through to 16th three laps later. Consistently fast race laps and some aggressive driving saw Lowndes make his way to 13th by the opening of the compulsory pit stop window on lap 21. Emerging from his stop in 19th position, Lowndes continued his push towards the top ten and was 13th by the 30th lap. On lap 46 and up to 11th position, Craig slipped off the circuit at the final corner to avoid hitting an early braking David Besnard, sending the CAT FPR Falcon into the infield and collecting an advertising sign. Part of the sign lodged itself in the front spoiler, blocking air flow to the engine. The crew sent a radio message to Lowndes to come to a complete stop on the track in order for the sign to fall off. This enabled him to continue the race, although he had dropped from 11th to 20th in the process, and this was his finishing position.
Race one was won by HRT driver Mark Skaife with Ford drivers Marcos Ambrose and Russell Ingall rounding off the top three.
The second 54 lapper started at 2:30pm in sunny conditions with Seton starting from the rear of the grid (35th) and Lowndes starting from 20th. After getting off to a stong start, Lowndes and Holden driver Garth Tander contacted at turn two - damaging the CAT FPR Falcon's front right wheel and forcing Lowndes into the pits for a replacement. Seton also started strongly - beggining a super- aggressive charge through the field which saw him passing a car each lap to 15th until a passing attempt on Ford rival John Bowe saw the two collide. This earned Seton a drive through penalty and dropped him back to the rear of the field once again. Both FPR Falcons were now at the rear of the field, Seton racing his way to 21st and Lowndes 26th out of the 32 finishers.
The second Oran Park V8 Supercar race was won by Ford driver Marcos Ambrose ahead of HRT's Mark Skaife and Holden driver Jason Bright. The same three drivers took the top three places for the round. This result places Holden driver Jason Bright into the lead of the 2004 Championship with 1308 points ahead of Ford's Marcos Ambrose (1295).
Despite the lower than expected results at this round, the complete reliability of both FPR Falcons at Oran Park was positive for FPR as the team heads towards the Sandown (September 12) and Bathurst (October 10) endurance races.
#5 Glenn Seton - "I never realised how far back the last spot on the grid is here at Oran Park - it is around the final corner, almost at the apex. This made it a difficult place to start from as it is uphill. I was enjoying working my way through the field and the car was very well balanced for the race and very consistent throughout. I made contact with John Bowe approaching the bridge and got a drive through penalty for it which dropped me back again. I have to sat that I am still very disappointed with my accident this morning and I cannot thank my crew enough for the great job they did to repair it and to make it a great car for the second race."
#6 Craig Lowndes - "The first race off track excursion was a shame as we could been in a much better starting position for the second race. We changed our set up for the second race and the car improved a lot, we picked up some front traction that we were lacking. I got off to a great start in the second race, but had a turn 2 altercation with Garth Tander that damaged my right front rim and punctured the tyre. After the stop we lost a lap and it was a matter of survival from there to finish the race."
FPR Chief Engineer John Russell - "A challenging day for the whole team but we got through it. The positive keynote is that this was the first round since Darwin that we have had no mechanical problems. Glenn displayed good car speed and drove a spirited second race to recover from his accident in the morning only to be penalised for a driving infringement. Craig drove two solid races but was caught up in incidents. We move forward from here with better reliability heading into Sandown and Bathurst."