September 12, 2004 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) drivers Craig Lowndes, Glenn Seton, Alain Menu and Adam Macrow made it to the chequered flag in today's dramatic 9th round of the 2004 Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series at Melbourne's ...
September 12, 2004 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) drivers Craig Lowndes, Glenn Seton, Alain Menu and Adam Macrow made it to the chequered flag in today's dramatic 9th round of the 2004 Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series at Melbourne's Sandown Raceway.
The CAT FPR Falcon duo of triple V8 Supercar Champion Craig Lowndes and double Champion Glenn Seton finished 18th after running competitively in the top six during the opening stages of the race. The Ford Credit FPV Falcon duo of Alain Menu and Adam Macrow finished 19th after starting the race from the pit lane.
Today's 160 lap race included no less than 12 Safety Car periods (covering 39 laps) due to several off circuit forays and accidents by many competitors. While the weather remained dry for the entire three hours and forty one minutes of the race, two days of heavy rain prior to the race made the circuit infield and surrounds treacherously soft and muddy, catching out several competitors, including FPR drivers Glenn Seton, Adam Macrow and Alain Menu. 24 of the 35 cars that started the race made it to the chequered flag.
This first of two V8 Supercar endurance races for 2004 was won by Ford Championship leader Marcos Ambrose and co-driver Greg Ritter, with his SBR team mate Russell Ingall and co-driver Cameron McLean finishing second.Completing the first all Ford podium since Eastern Creek in 2003 were DJR drivers Steven Johnson and Warren Luff.
Despite the lower than expected results of 18th and 19th for FPR at Sandown, the team is encouraged by the strong performance of both cars at this demanding event, with many lessons learned ahead of the most prestigious race of the year, the Bob Jane T-Marts Bathurst 1000 coming up on October 10. This race was also vital to provide FPR endurance drivers Alain Menu and Adam Macrow with valuable V8 Supercar mileage ahead of the great race.
#6 Craig Lowndes - "I stayed out of trouble during my stint and the car was good except for some understeer. I handed the car to Glenn within the top six and he was running very strongly until he got caught up in other drivers' dramas - this is always a risk in these long distance races. We are getting stronger and we'll take what we have learned here at Sandown to prepare an even faster car for Bathurst."
#6 Glenn Seton - "It was a hard day - no doubt about that. Jason Bright turned me around early in my stint, which got me bogged and we lost four laps there. After one of the re-starts, one of the Dynamik cars hit me in the rear quarter and it felt like he kept his foot into it, spinning me around. Unfortunately Skaifey had no where to go, we hit and I got bogged again. These incidents were a shame as the car balance was pretty good - we definitely need more power, we were significantly lacking in that area and this is something that we will be working on between now and Bathurst."
#5 Alain Menu - "I think that I went through pretty much everything during my stint. In way it was a shame, as after the driver change we worked our way back up to 14th but then I locked the brakes at turn one as I was struggling with front end grip under braking and turn in - a lot of understeer, so it was quite tricky. I have learned a lot and this was the main goal for me in this race so in that sense I am reasonably happy. My lap times were fairly competitive as well so we are looking good for Bathurst."
#5 Adam Macrow - "I was happy with the opening stint - I felt comfortable in the car and it was good to move up from last to 15th by time I pitted - a very enjoyable drive. It was also good to do so many laps in the stint. The car was very good in the early stages, particularly the brakes. I made one mistake when I locked the brakes as I came across dirt all over the track at turn two, but apart from that my aim was to stay out of trouble and make it to the end of the stint in a stronger position and I achieved that."
FPR Chief Engineer, John Russell - "Certainly an entertaining race and a hard work out for the pit crew - it was one of those days I guess. We certainly displayed the potential of gaining two stronger finishes and we had good reliability throughout. We have learned a lot for Bathurst and we look forward to returning to the mountain."
FPR now prepares for the biggest V8 Supercar race of them all, the Bob Jane T-Marts Bathurst 1000 (October 7-10), the 10th round of the 2004 Championship.