FPR TOPS DESERT 400 PRACTICE IN BAHRAIN Ford Performance Racing (FPR) drivers Mark Winterbottom and Steve Richards have started the defence of FPR's Desert 400 Champion's title brilliantly by setting the first and third fastest laps of today's...
FPR TOPS DESERT 400 PRACTICE IN BAHRAIN
Ford Performance Racing (FPR) drivers Mark Winterbottom and Steve Richards have started the defence of FPR's Desert 400 Champion's title brilliantly by setting the first and third fastest laps of today's hot and humid two hours of practice in Bahrain.
Winterbottom set the fastest lap time of practice (1:25.3225s) in his Orrcon Ford Credit FPR Falcon with five minutes remaining in the second half of the session. This lap time was just 4/1000ths of a second faster than Ford rival Jamie Whincup, with Richards' Castrol FPR Falcon third, three tenths of a second behind his team mate.
Both drivers reported strong cars with the only concern being a lack of grip on this notoriously smooth and sandy Middle Eastern circuit. This view was supported by most of the front running drivers who experienced spins and off circuit forays throughout the session. Today's results represented an outstanding recovery and repair effort by the Melbourne based blue oval team after both FPR Falcons were damaged due to a freak transporting accident while being delivered from the airport to the circuit yesterday morning.
#5 Mark Winterbottom - "Hopefully the truck accident used up all of our bad luck for the weekend, as we need to be at the top at the end of the weekend -- this is something we haven't done despite having the speed to win rounds for some time now. There is astroturf on the circuit between turns four and five that makes a difference this year, along with a few other corners that are a bit slower with grip being the only problem. The car is in good shape -- sometimes good things can fall out of the back of a truck! -- The guys have done a great job to give me an strong car for practice today."
#6 Steve Richards - "We had a set program of things to work on during practice and we achieved all of our targets. The problem around here is that once you have done your first lap of a run here -- that's it, that is as fast as you will go. It is really difficult to read into anything that you are doing, because you cannot feel the changes that you make to the car. Driving here is as as close that a V8 Supercar gets to being a WRC (Rally) car, you spend so much time sideways after two or three laps and it gets tough on the arms. I am happy with the car though and while the tyre wear is something to contend with, it is the same for everyone. Smooth driving in the races will be important."
FPR Team Principal, Tim Edwards - "It was a great recovery after our difficult start to the weekend with what happened yesterday. It is very encouraging to be first and third with cars that aren't perfect, so we expect to be faster tomorrow with some changes overnight."
FPR returns to the spectacular Bahrain International Circuit at 11:00am local time for the 55 minute qualifying session which will determine the starting grid positions for tomorrow's first of three 31 lap Desert 400 races which is scheduled to start at 3:00pm local time. (Minus 8 hours EST)