Symmons Plains: FPR Saturday report

BRIGHT & WINTERBOTTOM RACE TO FIRST & SECOND IN TASMANIAN V8 SUPERCAR OPENER November 11, 2006 - FPR Falcon drivers Jason Bright and Mark Winterbottom have raced to the first ever 1,2 finish for the Prodrive team at Tasmania's Symmons Plains ...

BRIGHT & WINTERBOTTOM RACE TO FIRST & SECOND IN TASMANIAN V8 SUPERCAR OPENER

November 11, 2006 - FPR Falcon drivers Jason Bright and Mark Winterbottom have raced to the first ever 1,2 finish for the Prodrive team at Tasmania's Symmons Plains Raceway today.

CAT FPR Falcon driver Bright, who made his V8 Supercar debut at this circuit in 1997, won today's closely contested 42 lap sprint race after a faultless drive from 3rd on the starting grid. Ford Credit FPR Falcon driver Winterbottom continued his ultra-consistent 2006 season form with a superb second place finish in the 100 kilometre race.

It wasn't the best of starts for Bright, but he managed to retain third position into the first corner behind early leaders Garth Tander and Mark Skaife. Half way through the first lap a major accident involving Craig Lowndes, Jamie Whincup and Greg Murphy brought out an early Safety Car caution period, with a further seven laps required to clear the circuit and resume racing.

Winterbottom also avoided the opening lap drama but dropped one position to 6th at the start. FPR's race engineers called Winterbottom into the pits for his compulsory tyre stop on lap 12. Just 3.2 seconds later Winterbottom was back in the race, leapfrogging his way into 4th position. Two laps later Bright pitted and was back on the track in second position after another superb 3.0 second stop.

The only driver left to beat was Garth Tander and by half way distance Bright was 6/10ths of a second behind his Holden rival, with Winterbottom five seconds adrift in third. By the closing stages of the race (lap 38), Tander was in trouble with a misfiring engine enabling Bright to race into the lead, with Winterbottom also making his way past the crippled Commodore on the 40th lap. The FPR duo raced on to finish first and second, Bright greeting the chequered flag 2.5 seconds ahead of his team mate. Rick Kelly finished third ahead of Tander and Ford driver James Courtney.

Both FPR Falcons will line up for tomorrow's second race of the round on the front row of the Symmons Plains starting grid at 11:00am.

#6 Jason Bright - "There was a bit of confusion at the start between the five second board appearing and the red lights that delayed my start and once I was on my way it took a couple of laps for the car to settle into a good pace. After our early pit stop I was able to match Garth Tander's pace lap for lap and while following him the brakes heated up and needed some clean air for a few laps. I pushed hard again to catch him as we approached the late stages of the race. In the final laps I saw sparks coming from Tander's exhaust and he started to slow up on the straights. It is great for the team to get a 1,2 finish and I am looking forward to seeing both of the FPR Falcons on the front row tomorrow."

#5 Mark Winterbottom - "A great day for the team with our first 1,2 finish. I had a very stable car throughout the race and the pit stop was so fast that I hardly blinked before I had to go again. I have made some ground on Craig (Lowndes) in the Championship and Rick (Kelly) has once again finished on the podium, making it hard to make up ground on him. We are still very much in the fight for the title with two races here remaining and two rounds to the end of the season. We are in top form for tomorrow's races."

FPR Motorsport Director, Tim Edwards - "A bloody fantastic start to the weekend after a top five qualifying effort, followed up by a 1,2 finish in the race today. The drivers put in faultless performances and our pit crew was outstanding with two three second pit stops. We have two more races to try and elevate our drivers' and teams' Championship standings tomorrow and that's where our efforts are now focused."

-credit: fpr

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers James Courtney , Garth Tander , Jason Bright , Greg Murphy , Rick Kelly , Jamie Whincup , Mark Winterbottom , Tim Edwards