Lowndes 8th and Seton 11th after drama filled Clipsal 500. March 24, 2003 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) drivers Craig Lowndes and Glenn Seton finished 8th and 11th in yesterday's excitement packed second leg of the Clipsal 500 Adelaide, part...
Lowndes 8th and Seton 11th after drama filled Clipsal 500.
March 24, 2003 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) drivers Craig Lowndes and Glenn Seton finished 8th and 11th in yesterday's excitement packed second leg of the Clipsal 500 Adelaide, part of the opening round of the 2003 Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series. FPV Falcon driver David Besnard was forced to retire after a late race accident.
Sunday's race was one of the most exciting ever staged at the Adelaide Street Circuit, with several accidents and Safety Car based re-starts ensuring close and fierce racing. FPR was no exception to this rule with Lowndes, Seton and Besnard involved in their fair share of the on track action throughout this long and physically demanding 78 lap race.
CAT FPR BA Falcon driver Craig Lowndes started from the rear of the field with FPV Falcon team mate David Besnard and Ford Credit Falcon driver Glenn Seton started from the 18th spot on the starting grid.
Ten laps into the race, Lowndes was superb during his charge through the field, making his way from 35th to 19th. Besnard also progressed from his rear of field start, making his his way to 22nd in this time and team mate Seton had fallen back early after a rear impact that occurred during the chaos of the opening laps.
Aided by competitor pitstops, Lowndes raced as high as 7th by the mid stage of the race, but a longer than planned pit stop cost the CAT FPR BA Falcon driver in track positions. Lowndes continued his charge towards the top ten, racing his way to 14th by lap 42. Two laps later Lowndes was forced to drive off the circuit to avoid a mid corner accident with Ford drivers Jason Bargwanna and Rodney Forbes. This demoted the FPR driver to 24th and once again the hard work to earn a top ten finish for the team resumed.
Assisted by a number of accidents and competitor mistakes during the closing stages of the race, Lowndes continued his determined charge through the field, greeting the chequered flag in 8th. This opened the triple Champion's points balance for the season after this highly determined drive.
The story was similar for Ford Credit Falcon driver Glenn Seton. Fighting throughout the race with a bent steering on his AU Falcon, the 37 year old displayed how consistency can pay off in points by staying on the pace throughout. Seton raced strongly to 11th, gaining valuable points towards his 2003 Championship tally.
FPV FPR Falcon driver David Besnard competed as strongly as he could with his AU Falcon throughout the race. He competed as high as16th until an accident after the final re-start of the race ended his consistent Clipsal 500 performance on the 72nd lap.
#6 Craig Lowndes - "The work done on the car overnight improved it heaps, we made spring changes all round and it really transformed the car compared to Saturday. We had our fair share of drama during the race - we seemed to just see-saw towards the top ten throughout the race. This race result was a very positive step for us and we have learned a lot about the CAT FPR BA Falcon here."
#5 Glenn Seton - "On the first lap someone hit me in the rear and fired me off the track at turn four, this bent the steering and caused some major understeer at turn eight. - I lost heaps of ground to everyone through there. Besides the unwanted steering modification I was very happy with the consistent speed of the Ford Credit Falcon, the car was clearly much better than on Saturday. The race proved to be a matter of staying out there until the final safety car period ended, as there were quite a few taking themselves out during the closing stages."
#19 David Besnard - "The FPV Falcon wasn't quick enough today, but all was on track to pick up some valuable points until the accident. Jason Bargwanna tried a wild move down the inside on the final turn and I was able to avoid crashing into him, but Brad Jones also had to take evasive action and we collided."
John Russell, FPR Chief Engineer - "Craig's drive was something to salvage from this weekend, it was a good effort and he displayed good pace - the third fastest car on the circuit in fact. A slow pitstop delayed him a bit, but when starting from dead last, finishing in the top ten was more than anyone could ask for. Glenn's effort was hampered before it began with an early accident but he kept at it and finished strongly considering the offset steering. David did the best he could but an unavoidable collision at the end of the race ended his chances. With each event we are learning much more about our cars so we are looking forward to Phillip Island next month."
The 2003 Clipsal 500 Adelaide was the fifth running of this outstanding Australian sporting event. This year's event once again broke all previous attendance records with 213,600 fans visiting the event from Thursday to Sunday.
FPR now sets their sights towards stronger results at the team's nominated test circuit, Phillip Island in Victoria, when the V8 Supercar field returns for the second round of the series from April 11-13.