Bathurst: FPR Thursday notes

Ford Performance Racing (FPR) has powered to a top three start in opening practice for this weekend's Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000. Castrol FPR Falcon driver Mark Winterbottom has set today's third fastest lap time (2:08.74s) after two hours...

Ford Performance Racing (FPR) has powered to a top three start in opening practice for this weekend's Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

Castrol FPR Falcon driver Mark Winterbottom has set today's third fastest lap time (2:08.74s) after two hours of practice on the 6.2 kilometre Mount Panorama circuit in sunny and warm conditions. Double Bathurst Champion Steve Richards, who is sharing the number 6 FPR Falcon this weekend with Winterbottom, who was also in impressive form throughout practice, commenting that his FPR Falcon was the best car that he has ever driven in the 14 years that he has competed at this challenging circuit.

The number 5 Orrcon Ford Credit FPR Falcon emerged 17th today in a new Bathurst livery that has proved popular with the many fans enjoying the first day of V8 Supercar action at the mountain. In the hands of New Zealand racer Matt Halliday and Tasmanian driver Owen Kelly, the car was 17th fastest today (2:10.06s - Halliday), with some rear traction problems holding the FPR endurance duo back from setting a better time.

Today's fastest lap went to Ford driver Steve Johnson (2:08.0740s) ahead of Rick Kelly and Mark Winterbottom, with James Courtney and Mark Skaife rounding off the top five.

#6 Mark Winterbottom - "I'm very pleased with our pace today as I only got one flying lap near the end of the session and I missed a gear on that lap which cost some seven tenths of a second. Overall the car felt very good and I am looking forward to maintaining this pace for qualifying tomorrow and well into the weekend. We're coming into the weekend with confidence and third fastest in today's session has confirmed this. Unlike some other guys who have paired up for this weekend's race, we don't have the added pressure of worrying about the Championship, we're simply here to try and win this race."

#6 Steve Richards - "I got into the car pretty early in the session and did a reasonable lap time straight away. The car feels fantastic, it is the best car that I have driven around here by a significant margin. We made some changes throughout the session which we were scheduled to make, all of which appeared to work quite well. Unlike some other teams, we didn't put a new set of tyres on and Frosty only got one flying lap at the end, I think a second flying lap would have been even quicker. Third fastest is a good start and we're looking forward to continuing this speed over the weekend."

#5 Matt Halliday - "Considering some of the handling issues Owen and I had with our set-up today, we aren't too far from a competitive lap time. We will work on the areas that need improvement and I have no doubt that we will have everything sorted for tomorrow."

#5 Owen Kelly -- "We have some things to sort out to improve the car, particularly with its rear stability, as the car gets quite nervous across the top of the mountain. We have identified the issues and we will address these overnight so we can be faster tomorrow."

FPR Team Principal Tim Edwards -- "A good start to our weekend with Mark and Steve setting a top three pace throughout the entire two practice sessions without really getting the full potential out of their car. The session went to plan perfectly and while we'd like to see Matt and Owen further up the order, considering the issues they encountered, they still set a promising pace."

FPR returns to the track for two further practice sessions tomorrow starting at 9:20am, followed by qualifying at 2:05pm.

-credit: fpr.com.au

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Series Supercars
Drivers James Courtney , Matthew Halliday , Rick Kelly , Mark Skaife , Mark Winterbottom , Owen Kelly , Steve Johnson , Steve Richards , Tim Edwards