MARK WINTERBOTTOM SECOND IN RACE TWO AT PHILLIP ISLAND
December 10, 2006 - Ford Credit FPR Falcon driver Mark Winterbottom has raced from 7th on the grid to 2nd in today's second Caterpillar Grand Finale V8 Supercar race, the 25 year old setting a sizzling pace and the fastest lap of the race in the process, at a very hot and sunny Phillip Island.
Winterbottom muscled his way past Holden rival Mark Skaife and made the most from another lightning fast pit stop to finish a lonely second, 6.1 seconds behind Todd Kelly with V8 Supercar title fighters Craig Lowndes and Rick Kelly behind.
CAT FPR Falcon driver Jason Bright raced from 10th on the grid losing one place at the start but settling into a fast pace after his pit stop on lap 7, which saw a slow exit due to excessive pit lane traffic. Like his team mate, Bright chased and passed Skaife on the 11th lap, moving inside the top ten by the 18th lap. After working his way up to 8th, a major brake lock-up on the entry to turn four saw Bright lose a position to 9th, gaining a spot when Will Davison had an off circuit foray. The final two laps saw Bright defend his position against Ford rival Jamie Whincup, managing to stay ahead until the chequered flag at the completion of 32 laps.
The race was won by Todd Kelly ahead of FPR's Winterbottom, with Lowndes third and Rick Kelly fourth. Winterbottom's major threat for third in the Championship existed from Garth Tander, but the Holden driver received a blag flag (pit lane drive through penalty) for blocking, giving the FPR driver a strong points buffer heading into the third and final race of the round and of the 2006 season, which is scheduled to start at 3:30pm.
This result also gives FPR a slight margin over rival Ford team Triple 8 for second place in the Teams' Championship, with the final race set to decide this result and to crown a new V8 Supercar Champion for 2006.