Bent Steering Ends FPR Charge For Indy Victory October 24, 2004 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) driver Craig Lowndes retired from the second 30 lap Surfers Paradise V8 Supercar street race while running second, some 3/10ths of a second behind...
Bent Steering Ends FPR Charge For Indy Victory
October 24, 2004 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) driver Craig Lowndes retired from the second 30 lap Surfers Paradise V8 Supercar street race while running second, some 3/10ths of a second behind the eventual race winner, Greg Murphy.
The CAT FPR Falcon driver was in full-attack mode from the moment the green light sent the 32 car field out for battle, Lowndes powered from 4th on the grid into second behind Murphy at the first chicane. The triple Champion remained second in a thrilling nose to tail battle with Murphy for 18 laps, the gap between the two rivals remaining under half a second throughout. The Bathurst 1000 winner and runner-up drivers also swapped fastest lap times as they charged away from the rest of the field on the Surfers Paradise street circuit.
After having tagged a chicane tyre bundle once on the second lap, Lowndes reported a bent steering early, but this did not excessively hamper his car speed. In the heat of his battle with Murphy, (lap18) the Holden driver made an error and Lowndes tried to capitalise on it by mounting a move, but he clipped a tyre bundle again and this time it caused terminal damage to the CAT FPR Falcon's steering.
Ford Credit FPV Falcon driver Glenn Seton started the race from 15th on the grid and struggled to move through the heavy Gold Coast street circuit traffic. On the seventh lap the double Champion tried to overtake Ford rival Brad Jones, the two colliding and sending Seton into a spin. This dropped Seton to the rear of the field and the Gold Coast based driver continued to finish the race 20th. This result was not indicative of the improvement achieved in car speed at this event by Seton and his race engineers.
The 30 lap race was won by Greg Murphy (Holden) with Ford's Marcos Ambrose second and Holden driver Todd Kelly third. Ambrose has extended his lead in the Championship with a total of 1856 points, followed by Holden drivers Jason Bright (1690) and Greg Murphy (1665).
FPR returns from the Gold Coast with the knowledge that for the first time this season the team lost a round that they were clearly capable of winning, particularly considering the car speed displayed during both Surfers Paradise street races. The blue oval team looks forward to the final two rounds of the Championship to end the season with another visit to the podium.
#6 Craig Lowndes - "I has some issues throughout practice with tagging the tyres and bending the steering, unfortunately during the race I hit the tyres too many times and broke the steering mid way through my battle with Murphy. I was enjoying the fight very much, even though I had initially bent the steering on the second lap. I could maintain pace with Murphy and I was getting into a good rythym until I tried to take advantage of a mistake by Murphy and hit the tyres again. Unfortunately that's the way it goes sometimes."
#5 Glenn Seton - "A pretty eventful race - I got caught up with Brad Jones early in the race when I tried to pass him at the end of the back straight. I locked the rear tyres and turned myself around - it was totally my fault. The car had good pace and it was consistent, so it was a shame to be held back by the traffic being so far behind after the spin. Given the situation, we did the best that we could do."
FPR Chief Engineer, John Russell - "A disappointing conclusion to an exciting race, we genuinely had the car speed today and the team has worked very well throughout - it just didn't go our way. We have two more rounds to fight for a win with Craig and we'll see what we can do. Glenn made a solid start but got involved in an incident with Brad Jones early on and had a lonely race at the back. We had two strong and reliable cars here this weekend and we clearly demonstrated that we are really piecing it together."