Bahrain: FPR Friday report

JASON BRIGHT TAKES INAUGURAL DESERT 400 RACE AND LAP RECORD November 24, 2006 - CAT FPR Falcon driver Jason Bright has driven one of the most exciting races of his V8 Supercar career to win the inaugural Desert 400 V8 Supercar race in Bahrain...


November 24, 2006 - CAT FPR Falcon driver Jason Bright has driven one of the most exciting races of his V8 Supercar career to win the inaugural Desert 400 V8 Supercar race in Bahrain today. Team mate Mark Winterbottom was also impressive, making up seven positions from 15th to 8th to ensure a top ten starting position for the two remaining races of the Middle Eastern round tomorrow.

Bright started the race from second on the grid and chased Pole-setter Garth Tander for the first 12 laps, remaining in close pursuit of his rival until he pitted for his compulsory pit stop on lap 13. In what was the fastest race pit stop of the season so far for the field leading FPR pit crew, Bright was back in the race after just 2.95 seconds in the pits - which ensured that the 33 year old driver the lead of the race when Tander stalled as he exited from his pit stop shortly after. Bright and Tander's high speed battle on the Bahrain International Circuit saw the duo blast away from the field by some seven seconds ahead of third placed Todd Kelly. It was not an easy race by any means for Bright, who was chased relentlessly by Tander during the closing stages, but superb driving and strong car pace on the tricky track surface saw the FPR driver take the inaugural Desert 400 V8 Supercar race victory and the lap record honour in the process.

Winterbottom made up for the disappointment of his qualifying result of 15th to finish 8th in today's exciting race that saw a number of accidents and off circuit forays by a number of drivers. Caught in the thick of the action of the midfield, the 25 year old drove an aggressive but sensible race, returning to the pits at the completion of the 27 laps with a straight car and a top ten starting position for tomorrow's two remaining races of this round.

Bright was followed to the chequered flag by Tander, Kelly, Rick Kelly and Ford driver James Courtney, with Steven Richards and Mark Skaife ahead of Winterbottom, with Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup rounding off the opening race top ten.

#6 Jason Bright - "We had a great car today and our pit stop was exceptional. I initially thought that we may have lost time on our exit, but Garth had his problems in the pits on the next lap so when I came around he was nowhere to be seen. He chased me hard and I made some mistakes that brought him closer as well as our tyre grip deteriorated. I knew that our car was very strong under brakes and if he was going to make a move to pass me, it was going to have to be a very good one as I wasn't having too much trouble keeping him behind. Today was a bit of an unknown for us so it is very satisfying to win the first V8 Supercar race and to also take the inaugural V8 Supercar lap record in Bahrain. We have a very strong car for tomorrow's two races but just like today, these races will be a bit of an unknown as they will be ten laps longer. The drivers who can preserve their tyres the best will be ones battling for the round victory this weekend."

#5 Mark Winterbottom - "A good race after the disappointment of qualifying. We reverted to my practice set-up and we set the target of finishing within the top ten to set ourselves up well for tomorrow. I was a bit vulnerable starting from 15th and we copped a bit of damage, but overall the car is in very good shape considering how much ground we made in the 27 laps. I am confident that we will find more car pace overnight to have an even stronger car for tomorrow."

FPR Motorsport Director, Tim Edwards - "A fantastic start for the weekend, especially for Jason and it was a bit disappointing with Mark's qualifying not quite going his way but he made up good ground during the race to finish 8th placing him well for races two and three. Once again we had outstanding pit stops, including our first 2.9 second stop for the season which gave Jason the jump on Garth and take the lead. An outstanding job by everybody."

The race was held in partially cloudy and very pleasant mid 20 degree ambient temperatures.

FPR returns to the outstanding Bahrain International Circuit tomorrow for the final two races to decide the 12th round of the 2006 V8 Supercar Championship Series at 11:00am (7:00pm Australian / EDST) and 3:00pm (12:00am Australian / EDST).

-credit: fpr

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Series Supercars
Drivers James Courtney , Jason Bright , Rick Kelly , Mark Skaife , Craig Lowndes , Jamie Whincup , Todd Kelly , Mark Winterbottom , Tim Edwards , Steven Richards