DRAMATIC SERIES OPENER FOR BRIGHT & RITTER March 19, 2005 - Saturday's opening 78 lap leg of the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide proved to be an eventful one for Ford Performance Racing (FPR) drivers Jason Bright and Greg Ritter. Bright started his...
DRAMATIC SERIES OPENER FOR BRIGHT & RITTER
March 19, 2005 - Saturday's opening 78 lap leg of the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide proved to be an eventful one for Ford Performance Racing (FPR) drivers Jason Bright and Greg Ritter.
Bright started his CAT FPR Falcon from 10th on the grid and after making his compulsory tyre (lap 9) and fuel (lap 45) pit stops he was well placed to start working his way towards the top ten after racing as high as 6th position, he pitted for a third and final tyre stop on lap 53 with 25 laps remaining. On the 69th lap and while in 11th position, Bright's front spoiler detached and slipped under his front tyres, causing the car to skate off the circuit and into a tyrewall. Bright managed to re-join the race without a front spoiler and down in 18th position, but on the last lap he was hit from behind by Holden driver Paul Dumbrell who knocked the FPR driver into Cameron McConville (Holden), causing a three way accident. All three drivers finished the final lap, Bright greeting the chequered flag in 19th place.
Ford Credit FPV Falcon driver Greg Ritter started the race from 26th on the grid and faced a major challenge to make up ground during the long and hot Clipsal 500 first leg. After making strong progress through the field, Ritter made his tyre (lap 22) and fuel (lap 46) pit stops, before racing his way into the top five. On the 50th lap a rear axle component failure (watts linkage) eliminated the new FPR driver from the race.
The first podium of the new season was an all Ford affair, with SBR driver and double Champion Marcos Ambrose winning from his team mate Russell Ingall in second place and Craig Lowndes third.
#6 Jason Bright - "That was a very frustrating race. First we couldn't stop on the right fuel window like everyone else did, then we make a good call on new tyres later in the race and the front splitter falls off, gets stuck under the front tyres and forces me off the track. We didn't have the pace today and we the only chance we had for a top five finish was with the new tyres. We will work towards setting up a better car for tomorrow."
#5 Greg Ritter - "An unfortunate end to what was shaping up to be a good result in my opinion. My car wasn't the fastest out there, but I was making good progress through the field. You have to expect that things like this may happen with such a new car and it is better to find out any potential weaknesses sooner rather than later. The car was very good on its tyres and we will work on improving it for tomorrow."
FPR Chief Engineer Phil Keed - "We were hampered in our race strategy by our fuel consumption and we couldn't stop during the early safety car period when we needed to. Jason managed to recover a reasonable finish given the circumstances and for a while we were heading for a good result with green tyres but something broke on the front splitter. Greg was making solid progress until a failure in the rear axle ended his day."
FPR returns to the Adelaide Parklands Street Circuit for what is expected to be another warm and exciting day, with the Clipsal 500 second leg scheduled to start at 2:00pm. (2:30pm EST)