December 8, 2006 - CAT FPR Falcon driver Jason Bright has started the Caterpillar Grand Finale strongly by taking the number one spot in today's opening V8 Supercar practice.

Competing in his final race for Ford Performance Racing, the 33 year old Victorian driver worked throughout today's two hours of practice to improve the Bahrain Desert 400 winning FPR Falcon on the fast and undulating Phillip Island circuit. Bright made his intentions clear by setting the fastest lap of the session (1:33.7385s) with four minutes remaining. His lap time was 4/1000ths of a second ahead of rival Garth Tander with Bright's FPR team mate Mark Winterbottom third. (1:34.3876s)

Winterbottom used the first half of the session to try a number of set-up changes to the car to best handle the low grip experienced at Phillip Island today. These changes proved to be most valuable later in the session as the 25 year old driver elevated himself from 15th to 5th. An exciting final burst on his last flying lap moved him into 3rd, locking rival Tander into an FPR Falcon sandwich, with Ford drivers Jamie Whincup and Russell Ingall behind.

2006 V8 Supercar Championship title contenders Rick Kelly and Craig Lowndes were 13thand 14th today.

#6 Jason Bright - "We spent the first 15 minutes of the session in the pits as there was oil on the circuit and as a result we didn't do the maximum number of laps for the session. We knew the track would be fairly slippery this weekend with the forecast temperatures so we worked on developing a set-up to suit the conditions. By the end of the session we had a better set-up, despite the track conditions and the wind today which made the car unstable at times. I am very happy for the team and Caterpillar to be fastest today and the plan is to continue this form for all the guys at FPR in our final round together."

#5 Mark Winterbottom - "The wind today caused some understeer coming onto the straight and we spent the majority of the session working on things for our own benefit for next season. Then we moved on to finding the lap time that we needed and it was good to be able to use the session both to test and to set a strong lap time in practice. It was by no means a pretty session for us, but we made the top three and I know that there is quite a bit more to come for qualifying and the races. "

FPR returns to the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit for qualifying at 11:35am tomorrow, followed by the first race of the round starting at 3:40pm.

-credit: fpr