FPR FALCON DRIVERS RACE TO THIRD & FOURTH IN FIRST SYMMONS PLAINS RACE
Ford Performance Racing drivers Mark Winterbottom and Steve Richards have raced to third and fourth place finishes respectively in today's first 50 lap V8 Supercar race at Launceston's Symmons Plains Raceway.
Winterbottom gained his fifth front row qualifying result of the season earlier in the day, at second fastest in his Orrcon Ford Credit FPR Falcon, while Richards qualified 6th in his Castrol FPR Falcon after one of the most closely contested qualifying sessions of the season.
Today's race saw Winterbottom power off to a strong start side by side with Pole setter Garth Tander into the first turn. After a brake-lock into turn two, Winterbottom shuffled into second place and chased Tander, eventually finding his way past the Holden driver until his compulsory pit stop on lap 9. After a slow take off from his stop, Winterbottom re-joined the race in third position behind Ford's Jamie Whincup, which is where the 26 year old driver remained in close contact all the way to the chequered flag.
Richards also gained a good start to the race, holding his 6th place into the opening laps and setting a strong race pace until his stop for tyres on lap 11. After a superb 3.2 second pit stop, Richards re-joined the race in 4th position, trailing his team mate closely until the end of the race. The 35 year old Victorian driver resisted the advances of Craig Lowndes throughout the race and was pleased with the performance of his FPR Falcon in this first of three heats.
The race started with the ominous threat of rain clouds that cleared early in the race. FPR returns to the Tasmanian circuit at 11:45am and 3:30pm tomorrow for races two and three.
#5 Mark Winterbottom - "I got a good launch at the start but I locked a brake on the resin surface at turn two and that let Garth through, then the same thing happened to him a little later so it all equaled out. We lost two spots with our pit stop, it took me a while to get going from the box and I may have glazed my brakes during qualifying as there was quite a vibration from the start of the race and this became progressively worse as it progressed. Like everyone else, we have to deal with the issues of overheating brakes here in order to be faster tomorrow."
#6 Steve Richards - "We had a good start and pit-stop and jumped a few positions today. The car's chassis balance, handling and pace was very good, no complaints. It was a bit of an uneventful race as you get issues at this circuit with brake retardation, particularly in traffic. You get to a point where you don't move forward or backwards and the guys behind you are suffering from the same issues. We will only be making some minor adjustments for tomorrow."
FPR Team Principal, Tim Edwards - "A pleasing start to the weekend, great to have both cars running around so competitively in qualifying and in the race today. It is a strong start from which we can build for our two remaining races tomorrow."