October 10, 2003 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) driver and 1996 Bathurst 1000 winner Craig Lowndes has qualified within the top ten after a frantic final five minutes of qualifying for the 2003 Bob Jane T-Marts 1000. The CAT FPR Falcon driver...
October 10, 2003 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) driver and 1996 Bathurst 1000 winner Craig Lowndes has qualified within the top ten after a frantic final five minutes of qualifying for the 2003 Bob Jane T-Marts 1000.
The CAT FPR Falcon driver was struggling to improve on his fastest lap of 2:09.0203s until the final stages of the 45 minute session, when he pitted for some final set up changes that helped the triple V8 Supercar Champion improve by half a second (2:08.5267s) elevating the team from 12th to 7th with one minute remaining until the end of the session.
The unpredictable weather played its part during the top 50% session, with brief showers varying the circuit grip levels during the closing minutes of the event.
It was a short and dramatic qualifying session for Ford Credit FPR Falcon driver David Besnard, who only spent two laps on the circuit before disaster struck at Skyline, where a brake-lock up saw him spear into the sand trap at unabated speed, causing significant radiator, engine belt and rear underbody damage that ended his participation in the session. The 26 year old will start Sunday's race from 22nd on the grid after his qualifying time of 2:09.6722s. This was a bitter pill to swallow for the FPR driver who was second fastest during yesterday's second practice session.
FPR GT driver Adam Macrow improved on his best lap times so far at Bathurst by posting the fifth best time of the second 50% qualifying group, placing him and co-driver Darren Hossack 25th for Sunday's race. (2:10.1470s).
The top ten shoot-out battle for the final top ten race starting order will take place at 3:55pm (EST) tomorrow, following the fourth and final one hour practice session at 10:15am.
#6 Craig Lowndes - "The car is going very well after the hard work that we have put into it. Both Glenn and I are not having to drive it any harder to get good times out of it, but we still have some work to do to be at the front runner's pace. We have managed to close the gap substantially since yesterday."
#6 Glenn Seton - "It is good to be sure of a top ten start this year as I haven't had a car out of the top ten in qualifying at Bathurst since 1989. A good start to the weekend for us, with the ultimate goal being to put ourselves in a good starting position to achieve our goal of winning this event".
#19 David Besnard - "I tried too hard, I saw a few spots of rain across the top of the mountain and I wanted to set a fast lap straight away in case it rained more heavily. I went at it very hard, locked a front wheel and went out of control from there. We changed the brakes since practice and it caught me out."
#5 Adam Macrow - "We changed tyres twice and made a third stop for some more changes and the car was much better from that point on. Personally, I am getting faster with every lap in the car, the crew was helping me improve on various sections of the circuit and this was working, but on every single fast lap I was held up by slower traffic. We have developed a car that is fast and easy to drive, which is what Darren and I will need for the race."
FPR Chief Engineer, John Russell - " A good effort by Craig gaining 7th place on the provisional qualifying grid at the very end of the session, giving us the chance to improving this starting position in the top ten shoot out. A disappointing afternoon for David who despite a good car set up and proven speed over the weekend, was unable to translate that - unfortunately coming to grief on his second timed lap. Adam drove an extremely mature qualifying session that was thwarted somewhat by constant traffic at the top of the mountain. He and Darren have developed a very solid race package in the GT."