Bathurst 1000: FPR drivers will race together

IT'S ALL OR NOTHING FOR ENDUROS Mark Winterbottom's petition to be paired with team-mate and two-time Bathurst winner Steve Richards for the 2008 enduros has been granted by Ford Performance Racing. The decision was postponed because of...

IT'S ALL OR NOTHING FOR ENDUROS

Mark Winterbottom's petition to be paired with team-mate and two-time Bathurst winner Steve Richards for the 2008 enduros has been granted by Ford Performance Racing.

The decision was postponed because of both drivers' competitive 2008 seasons, raising the question of whether to run them separately and minimise the risk of a double DNF.

In the end, however, the team's desire to win the legendary Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 and next month's L&H 500 at Phillip Island won out.

"We came agonizingly close last year," said Team Principal Tim Edwards, who oversaw his team's dominant 2007 Bathurst performance, until a few laps from the end when a rain shower sent Winterbottom skidding over the gravel. "Scoring pole at Bathurst was the point this team started believing we could go all the way. We were unlucky last year, but we want to give ourselves the best chance to finish what we started."

Winterbottom, currently on holiday in Europe, was delighted at the news. "I was pretty confident that's the way it would go," said the 27-year-old. "I'm just glad Steve will still have me after last year! I made a mistake and I want the chance to wipe it out; everyone wants a Bathurst win on their CV!"

Frosty and Richo were paired separately for the Sandown endurance round last year, so Bathurst 2007 is their only experience of racing the same car. "I still rate last year as one of the best Bathurst events I've ever had, even though we didn't get the result," said Richo. "As a team we ticked every box possible and you can't take away that, even though we didn't get the win.

"Now we've just got to go to these enduros with a determined approach; it's definitely something the whole team is very hungry for."

The Orrcon Steel Ford Credit FPR Falcon will be driven by FPR enduro drivers Luke Youlden and Dean Canto, who are both excited about competing in a front-running car. "Looking at Mark's comeback at Winton; to recover from almost last to second is testament to how well the car's performing," said Canto, currently third in the Fujitsu Series standings.

"The enduros are raced as sprint rounds; everyone drives as hard as they can for maximum points and its clear Steve and Mark want a stab at the win. The cars are very reliable; the team's worked hard on that in the last couple of years so putting them together was the logical decision."

Youlden and Canto will get their FPR debut at the L&H 500 Phillip Island on September 12 -- 14.

FPR is currently leading the V8 Supercar Team Championship and Frosty and Richo are second and sixth in the driver standings respectively.

-credit: fpr

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Dean Canto , Mark Winterbottom , Luke Youlden , Steve Richards , Tim Edwards , Phillip Island