Philip Island: FPR race report

FPR GAMBLES EVERYTHING AND FINISHES FOURTH Ford Performance Racing braved a rain-drenched track on slicks this afternoon in an audacious bid to beat the obstacles flung at it by Phillip Island's L&H 500. The decision was a brave gamble by...

FPR GAMBLES EVERYTHING AND FINISHES FOURTH

Ford Performance Racing braved a rain-drenched track on slicks this afternoon in an audacious bid to beat the obstacles flung at it by Phillip Island's L&H 500.

The decision was a brave gamble by the team to maintain its hard-won advantage, gained through pitting early for fresh tyres. That tactical master stroke vaulted Mark Winterbottom from 5th to 1st with a 20 second lead over title rivals Triple Eight.

Disaster struck on lap 71, however, when the heavens opened. Most V8 Supercar Championship Series cars opted to dive in the garage for wets but FPR did the math and backed Steve Richards to keep it on track until the sun and wind cleared the conditions.

The risk did not pay off, but the team's losses were minimised thanks to a safety car on lap 80 regulating the pace.

When the dust settled, the Castrol FPR Falcon was in 10th with just 33 laps to make up the short fall. Richo pulled off some gutsy moves against the likes of Lee Holdsworth and James Courtney to finish fourth.

The Orrcon Steel Ford Credit FPR Falcon, meanwhile, recovered from qualifying 27th to run as high as 14th. The car seemed destined for a top 10 finish, as many of the cars in front still needed to pit, but the rain intervened with James Courtney out-braking himself into Luke Youlden and damaging the FPR car's steering. The team repaired the damage and Youlden brought it home in 24th with team-mate Dean Canto watching from the garage.

The next round in the V8 Supercar Championship Series' calendar is the iconic Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama, 9th -- 12th October.

Mark Winterbottom

#6 Castrol FPR Falcon

"It was a great fight-back from Richo; he did a great job to pass those cars. This isn't an easy track to pass on and conditions were pretty average. We're still second in the points; we've held on when it could have been a bad day.

"I think staying out wasn't the right call but you make a decision as a team; sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I'm not in the car; Richo has the conditions and knows what it's like. I'm just not experienced in making decisions from the garage!"

Steve Richards

#6 Castrol FPR Falcon

"I was absolutely driving around to stay on the black stuff in the rain. You couldn't apply 10% throttle without the car wanting to go sideways. We lost so much time but we'll learn from that.

"During those last 30 laps I was faster than those guys in front and we needed to grab a few more points. I'm very aware of Frosty's position in the championship. I might have been a bit more rough than usual but it was all low risk stuff."

Dean Canto

#5 Orrcon Steel Ford Credit FPR Falcon

"After our second pit stop we were in 14th and the eight cars in front hadn't pitted so we were in a pretty strong position. The car was just a jet and very consistent."

Luke Youlden

#5 Orrcon Steel Ford Credit FPR Falcon

"It just started to poor down; everyone was scrambling a bit. I went down the inside to get a bit of a view but copped a bit of a wack in the back which forced me into the car in front and broke the steering. I thought it might be terminal but the guys did a great job to get me back out again."

-credit: fpr

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers James Courtney , Dean Canto , Mark Winterbottom , Luke Youlden , Lee Holdsworth , Steve Richards , Phillip Island