FORD PERFORMANCE RACING WINS THE DESERT 400 AND DELIVERS FORD THE 2006 V8 SUPERCAR MANUFACTURERS CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE November 25, 2006 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) driver Jason Bright has won this week's historic Desert 400 V8 Supercar round,...
FORD PERFORMANCE RACING WINS THE DESERT 400 AND DELIVERS FORD THE 2006 V8 SUPERCAR MANUFACTURERS CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE
November 25, 2006 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) driver Jason Bright has won this week's historic Desert 400 V8 Supercar round, the 12th and penultimate round of the 2006 V8 Supercar Championship and the first Australian motor racing event to be held in the Middle East.
The CAT FPR Falcon driver's impressive Friday race victory and two second places today secured the 33 year old driver the honour of being the inaugural winner and V8 Supercar lap record holder of the Desert 400, beating Holden drivers Todd Kelly and Garth Tander by nine and twenty points respectively.
Bright was in superb form all week at the spectactular Bahrain International Circuit, qualifying second and combining superb car speed with meticulous pit stops by the FPR crew to ensure that he was always at the front end of the action, battling against Holden drivers Garth Tander in the first two races and Todd Kelly in the third. Despite taking the overall round honours today, Bright is 6th in the V8 Supercar Drivers' Championship standings with 2,611 points, just one point behind 5th placed Russell Ingall.
The Bahrain victory was Bright's second for the season and the 8th of his career. This was also FPR's third V8 Supercar round victory and the Prodrive team's 14th podium finish since 2003.
Ford Credit FPR Falcon driver Mark Winterbottom was also in fast form in Bahrain this week, recovering from his disappointing qualifying result of 15th, to race up to 8th in Friday's race and up to third in today's second race. The FPR Falcon driver was in line for a podium finish in the third and final race when a gear selection problem forced the 25 year old into the pits for emergency repairs. This placed Winterbottom two laps down and he finished the final race as the last classified finisher at 27th. Despite his downturn in luck, the outstanding young driver retains third place in the V8 Supercar Drivers' Championship standings with 2,792 points and will be able to consolidate this position at the series' final round to be held at Victoria's Phillip Island in just two weeks time.
FPR's result in the Middle East has also captured the coveted 2006 V8 Supercar Manufacturers title for Ford Australia - a goal in which the team is immensely proud of.
#6 Jason Bright - "It has been a great battle all weekend from qualifying, to the top ten shoot-out, trading wins with Garth Tander in the first two races and to battle so hard and close with Todd Kelly in the third race. It is a very good feeling to be the Ford driver who has sealed the manufacturers title for the blue oval and to be the inaugural Desert 400 winner. The team did an incredible job with our pitstops, highlighted by the 2.9 second stop yesterday - our pit stops have been great all year and this was integral to our result today. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in this round, the Bahraini people have been fantastic to us throughout our time here and this venue is just incredible."
#5 Mark Winterbottom - "The week got off to an average start, then it became a lot better and then it went a lot worse. We gained 203 points and retained third in the Drivers' Championship so all is not lost and the team achieved a great win. So while there was a couple of negatives to my week, these were far outweighed by the positives. We could have had both cars on the podium here in Bahrain but it wasn't to be - a goal to aim for next year. I have really enjoyed it here, this was a fantastic event."
FPR Motorsport Director Tim Edwards - "Absolutely fantastic - we have been the bridesmaid a few times this year with just one round win so far, so to come all this way and to win this inaugural Bahrain round is just outstanding. Jason and Mark drove brilliantly and it is also a great privilege to deliver the result that secured Ford the closely contested Manufacturers' Title. We now head to Phillip Island, a track that we know well and will be very competitive at, with the intention of ending the season on the top step of the podium just as we have done here."
Following the Desert 400, a Championship showdown looms at Phillip Island from December 8-10 as Rick Kelly holds on to a slender seven point lead from Ford driver Craig Lowndes, with FPR's Mark Winterbottom 269 points behind in third. Garth Tander is fourth, followed by Russell Ingall and Jason Bright.