Ford Performance Racing (FPR) has raced to a top five Championship result in the final round of the 2007 Australian V8 Supercar Championship after three stongly contested sprint races that made up the Dunlop Grand Finale at Victoria's Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.

Orrcon Ford Credit FPR Falcon driver Mark Winterbottom's three race results of 7th, 4th and 5th netted him 6th overall for the round and sealed his 5th place finish in the 2007 V8 Supercar Drivers' Championship. Castrol FPR Falcon driver Steve Richards recovered well in both of today's two races after starting from the rear of the field and making up 15 positions to finish 12th in race two and 9th in race three. Richards' results sealed his 7th place 2007 Championship result.

FPR displayed strong pace throughout the three Phillip Island races, with disappointing qualifying results of 8th (Winterbottom) and 12th (Richards) dictating a tough run for a possible sixth podium finish of the season. The Prodrive team has finished a close fourth in the V8 Supercar Teams' Championship after a season long battle with rival factory supported team HRT.

The 2007 Drivers' Championship was won by Garth Tander after three challenging races with Ford drivers Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes, who finished second (by two points) and third.

#5 Mark Winterbottom - "We used all of our tyres in the first two races and I flat-spotted a tyre in qualifying, so we didn't have the tyres we needed and I was struggled for rear grip during the final race and couldn't move forward. We still held out to finish fifth and take a solid 5th place in the Championship. All in all it has been a very good season, I am proud of the Pole award that we gained but a little disappointed that we weren't able to fight for the Championship. The team really made some solid progress this season and we have ended it with two very fast cars."

#6 Steve Richards - "I made up a couple of positions in the final race after making up a heap of ground in the second heat. We just didn't manage to take enough points from Skaife for the Team's Championship in those races. All in all it has been a good season and while we didn't get the results that we were after, we had a reasonable finish in the end. Everyone in the team should hold their heads up high with the progress that we have made and. All is looking good for us to start next season on a major note."

FPR Team Principal, Tim Edwards - "We could have had a better result this weekend, but overall we came on very strong in the last half of the season and we need to take this form into next year. Our cars are 100% reliable, out pit stops are exceptional, our drivers are both in form and we really came out fighting in the last five rounds of the season. With no change in the regulations going into next year, there is absolutely no reason why we won't be racing for the Championship with both drivers next season."

-credit: fpr.com.au