Sandown: Ford Performance Racing Saturday report

FPR EARNS TOP THREE SANDOWN 500 START September 2, 2006 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) driver Jason Bright has qualified third in the CAT FPR Falcon that he will be sharing with team mate Mark Winterbottom for tomorrow's 500 kilometre V8...

FPR EARNS TOP THREE SANDOWN 500 START

September 2, 2006 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) driver Jason Bright has qualified third in the CAT FPR Falcon that he will be sharing with team mate Mark Winterbottom for tomorrow's 500 kilometre V8 Supercar endurance classic at Melbourne's Sandown Raceway.

Bright was third fastest in the qualifying session, his best lap time of 1:10.9450s was a mere 8/100ths of a second from provisional pole position. This made FPR the fastest Ford team of the session; earning the 33-year-old driver the team's 7th consecutive top ten shoot out appearance. Bright then set the third fastest lap behind eventual Pole position winner Garth Tander and second placed Craig Lowndes.

New Zealand driver Matt Halliday set the 14th fastest lap of the highly competitive qualifying session that saw the top 25 drivers separated by less than one second. Halliday drove the Ford Credit BroadIP Falcon to his best lap time of 1:11.5878s placing him and co-driver Cameron McLean ahead of defending V8 Supercar Champion Russell Ingall and Holden rival Steven Richards for the start of tomorrow's race. Halliday's best lap time was 7/10ths of a second behind the leaders and was achieved despite a red flag stoppage to the session that interrupted his run.

After the speedy performances displayed over the past two days, the Prodrive team heads into tomorrow's demanding and often unpredictable 161-lap race ready to mount a strong blue oval challenge for victory.

#6 Jason Bright - "I had a reasonable shoot-out lap going until the last corner. I knew that I had some time to find during the later stages of the lap and made a mistake trying to push too hard. I am pleased with the car, we have worked on ensuring that our race car set up is exactly as we need it to be for the 500 kilometre race and this probably cost us qualifying speed."

#6 Mark Winterbottom - "We have definitely improved our race car set-up throughout the weekend. We needed to focus on this as in recent rounds we have been very fast in qualifying but our race pace hasn't been as good. We have reversed this trend here with good pace in qualifying from a comfortable and well-tuned racecar. We head into tomorrow's race in very strong form."

#5 Matt Halliday - "The circuit conditions were a bit different to yesterday and not having a lot of experience with these cars it took me some time to determine the changes needed to improve it. That was my first full qualifying session in a V8 Supercar so I am pleased with our speed as I had a messy run that included an off and I have also been having problems with strong pains in my left shoulder which will be getting some treatment tonight. Overall I am pleased with the car and we are looking forward to a good race tomorrow."

#5 Cameron McLean - "Matt did a good job in qualifying today. While we wanted to make the top ten shoot-out, making the Sandown top 15 was a great effort as we have out paced a lot of drivers behind us who contest the Championship. The car has been very consistent all weekend and this is good heading into tomorrow's long race."

FPR Motorsport Director, Tim Edwards - "A great effort by Matt to qualify so well on his debut with FPR. Jason and Mark have worked solidly throughout the weekend and third today was a strong result. We have concentrated on ensuring that we have two consistently quick cars for 161 laps tomorrow.

-credit: fpr

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Garth Tander , Jason Bright , Russell Ingall , Craig Lowndes , Mark Winterbottom , Cameron McLean , Tim Edwards , Matt Halliday