Albert Park: FPR preview

CHAMPIONSHIP ON HOLIDAY BUT NO REST FOR FPR Race Format: 3 x 13 lap races, one each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday The V8 Supercar Championship Series goes on holidays for the Albert Park event, with no points awarded for the Formula One...

CHAMPIONSHIP ON HOLIDAY BUT NO REST FOR FPR

Race Format: 3 x 13 lap races, one each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday

The V8 Supercar Championship Series goes on holidays for the Albert Park event, with no points awarded for the Formula One QANTAS Australian Grand Prix support races - but this won't stop Ford Performance Racing's Mark Winterbottom and Steve Richards from having a crack at scoring their first race win for 2010.

Unlike the last two years, the Manufacturers Challenge has been scrapped, meaning all drivers are fighting for themselves and their respective teams - which should ensure there is plenty of great racing.

"While the GP event is a non-championship round, we'll be pulling out all stops to ensure we have another successful weekend," FPR team principal Tim Edwards said.

"We want to keep the momentum and progress going so that when we hit Hamilton (next championship round in NZ) we're on the pace.

Traditionally Albert Park has been good to us and coupled with our great start to the year we'll be looking for our first race win of the season," he added.

After adding to his on-going streak of longevity at the recent Clipsal 500 by finishing on the lead lap, Dunlop Super Dealers FPR driver Steve Richards is again looking to build upon his history at Albert Park.

Richards is one of only two drivers in the field (and the only Ford driver) to have competed in every V8 Supercar support event at the Grand Prix since it was first held at Albert Park in 1996.

He has started 38 races in that time and finished 35 of them. His record shows two wins (in 2006) and 20 top-10 finishes with only three DNFs (did not finishes) against his name.

Last year was the first time since 2001 that Richards did not qualify in the top 10 at Albert Park - and he only just missed out by qualifying 11th.

"The grand prix event has always been one of my favourite events," Richards said.

"I've enjoyed a pretty good run here over the years and will be a nice change getting back into some sprint format racing … if you qualify well and stay out of trouble it's generally a good weekend."

Orrcon Steel Racing FPR pilot Mark Winterbottom sits second in the V8 Supercar Championship Series and will be competing for pride instead of points this weekend.

Last year he won his first-ever race at Albert Park and finished second in the other two races.

In fact, Winterbottom has finished in the top seven in eight of the last nine V8 Supercar races run at the circuit, the only blemish a retirement from Race three in 2008 after contact with Jamie Whincup.

"I'm really looking forward to this weekend … without the pressure of the championship it's the only chance we get as drivers to really go out there and enjoy ourselves," Winterbottom said.

"That's not to say I won't be gunning for a win …we had some genuine pace at Clipsal so if we can qualify well and get out in front we should do alright.

You can bet Jamie (Whincup) and Garth (Tander) will be thinking the same thing and they're not the types who will be taking it easy just because there aren't any championship points on offer so there'll definitely be plenty of hard racing."

-source: fpr

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Jamie Whincup , Mark Winterbottom , Steve Richards , Tim Edwards