MARK WINTERBOTTOM RACES TO FOURTH FPR POLE POSITION OF THE SEASON AT SURFERS PARADISE
Ford Performance Racing (FPR) driver Mark Winterbottom raced to Pole position for the fourth time of the 2007 season after a dominating performance on the streets of Surfers Paradise today.
The 26 year old Orrcon Ford Credit FPR Falcon driver was fastest in both of today's practice sessions before setting a new qualifying lap record of 1:48.4819s during this afternoon's closely contested qualifying session. In a determined performance, Winterbottom's fastest lap time today was half a second faster than the previous qualifying lap record set last year by Rick Kelly.
Today's second and third fastest qualifiers behind Winterbottom were Holden's Garth Tander and Ford's James Courtney, with less than one second separating the top ten competitors. Winterbottom has now raced to more Pole positions this season than any other driver in the 2007 Championship.
Castrol FPR Falcon driver Steve Richards qualified 6th fastest today (1:49.1267s), earning his 4th consecutive top ten start of the season after a fast paced performance throughout the day. Richards reported some braking issues during the day, working closely with FPR's engineers to ensure that he was in strong form throughout qualifying. The Victorian driver who is competing in his 11th Gold Coast V8 Supercar street race, ended the day pleased with the significant progress made.
Both FPR Falcons emerged from the day's on track action with some bump marks and scrapes from close shaves with the notorious Surfers Paradise street circuit concrete barriers, but both Winterbottom and Richards emerged from the two practice sessions and qualifying without any major damage.
#5 Mark Winterbottom - "My last two Poles have been in shoot-outs and I gained this one in our normal qualifying format, making it very satifying to have the confidence with the car to be aggressive on this unforgiving circuit. You really need to be very aggressive to get a good lap time here and confidence in the car is vitally important for that reason. I had to knock a mirror off to get the top time, but that's what you need to do on a challenging street circuit like this. It is also very pleasing to gain Poles at the past three different circuits and particularly to gain Pole here after the disappointment we endured at Bathurst - the team is on a high and looking forward to the races."
#6 Steve Richards - "I had a bit of an issue with my brakes during qualifying, but aside from that everything is great with the car. It is very consistent on its tyres and this should make it a very good race car. This circuit is very tough on brakes so we will need to keep a close watch on that, as will everyone. It is all about getting a good start tomorrow and our results in that opening race will shape how things progress over the weekend."
FPR Team Principal, Tim Edwards - "A great result after fantastic efforts by both of our drivers today. The competition was fierce and Mark responded to every challenge during practice and qualifying to remain on top throughout. Steve is also in great form for the races and has everything he needs for a good weekend. We have started our Surfers Paradise campaign exactly as we planned to, now we'll concentrate on setting up two reliable race cars for the three tough races ahead."
FPR returns to the Lexmark Indy 300 for the first of three 120 kilometre street races at 4:05pm tomorrow (Saturday).