June 29, 2003 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) has gained little in reward for a hard working weekend at the sixth round of the Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series in the Northern Territory. CAT FPR BA Falcon driver Craig Lowndes finished...
June 29, 2003 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) has gained little in reward for a hard working weekend at the sixth round of the Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series in the Northern Territory.
CAT FPR BA Falcon driver Craig Lowndes finished 27th and 15th in today's second and third races, these results not reflecting the major set up gains made by the team today.
Glenn Seton raced his Ford Credit FPR BA Falcon to 16th (from the rear of the grid) in the second race and 17th in the third, an early pit stop strategy proving to be a mistake given his improved race speed during today's races.
FPV FPR AU Falcon driver David Besnard performed strongly today, racing to 18th in the second race and 28th in the third, the 26 year old driver's strong race form halted by an electrical problem during the closing stages of the race.
#6 Craig Lowndes - "We ended up with a great car by the end of the weekend, we were lapping as fast as Mark Skaife in the second race and our set up in the third race was one of the best that we have devised so far - so from a testing basis it was good, but not from a Championship perspective. I got caught up in a first corner incident in race three which bent the steering and then we had some major traffic that stopped me moving up further."
#5 Glenn Seton - "We could have had a good finish today, we were in front of Russell Ingall before the pit stop and he finished 8th, so I am sure that we would have been around or ahead of him by the end of the race. It was disappointing that we could not capitalise on our strong form in the races today, as we made a lot of headway with our race set up here."
#19 David Besnard - "The team made a pit stop decision that was costly in terms of my track position, but having said that I ended up having to shut down and re-start the car due to an electrical problem - so it made little difference. I am glad to be out of the team's AU Falcon and look forward to much better results ahead in my new car from Queensland on."
FPR Chief Engineer, John Russell - "A character building weekend for the team, a lot of could have beens which didn't translate, but on the positive side we have three straight cars and the drivers did their best - it just didn't work out for us. We move on to Queensland with three new FPR BA Falcons and a lot to look forward to."
The Darwin round was won by SBR Falcon driver Marcos Ambrose, making it it five in a row for the blue oval, with Holden drivers Mark Skaife and Jason Bright rounding off the podium.
Lowndes is now 11th in the Championship standings with 746 points, with Seton 12th on 600 points and Besnard 30th with 314 points. Holden driver Jason Bright leads the title chase from Steven Richards (Holden) and Marcos Ambrose (Ford).
Race Two Report - 11:45am - (Fine and Hot).
Sunday's two races were longer and hotter 35 lap races in which the team's main aim was to gain stronger starting positions for the third and final race of the round, with all three FPR drivers starting from the rear of the field. Lowndes and Besnard made the best starts, the CAT FPR BA Falcon driver making up 6 places to 22nd and the FPV FPR AU Falcon driver doing the same, starting from 24th and racing to 18th by the first lap. Ford Credit FPR BA Falcon driver Glenn Seton was up to 27th from his final row of the grid start.
By lap 3 and while in 15th position, Lowndes race was thwarted after a side impact with Toll Racing driver Anthony Tratt that left Lowndes' rear bar panel hanging off the car, forcing a quick unscheduled pit stop on lap 5 for its removal.
On lap 4 Seton pitted for his scheduled tyre stop, with Besnard following suit on lap 9. All FPR drivers embarked on a strong run through the order, with an exciting nose to tail battle taking place involving Max Wilson, Glenn Seton, Russell Ingall and David Besnard, which saw the two FPR drivers pass their rivals and make their way up to 16th (Seton) and 18th (Besnard) by the chequered flag.
Lowndes pitted for his compulsory tyre stop on lap 20 and salvaged 26th place by the end of the race which saw only one Safety Car period in the closing stages. The race was won by SBR BA Falcon driver Marcus Ambrose, with HRT driver Mark Skaife second and GRM Holden driver Garth Tander third.
Race Three - 2:30pm (Fine and Hot)
This race wasn't even two corners old when Todd Kelly and Mark Larkham exited the circuit spectacularly in a rear of field stoush that brought out the Safety Car. FPR's drivers were led by Glenn Seton in 16th, with David Besnard 19th and Craig Lowndes 27th.
The CAT FPR BA Falcon driver was the first to pit on lap 4, followed by Seton and Besnard on lap 5. This pit stop sequence wasn't ideal for Seton and Besnard, who dropped to the rear of the field after having made some initial ground.
The remaining 30 laps of the race saw all three FPR drivers do their best to gain track position and by the second Safety Car period on lap 20, Lowndes had progressed to 16th, Seton to 19th and Besnard to 22nd.
A late race electronic system problem for Besnard saw the FPV FPR Falcon driver slow briefly and lose ground to 28th where he finished the race. Seton finished his consistent run in 20th with Lowndes the highest FPR finisher in 15th. The race was won by SBR Falcon driver Marcos Ambrose with Holden drivers Greg Murphy and Mark Skaife second and third. /ends.
For further information contact Paul Marinelli, FPR Media Relations - 0417 558 655.
Print quality images available on line at www.fpv.com.au/mediacentre
Team website - www.fpv.com.au