Weekend of mixed fortunes for FPR in Perth June 8, 2003 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) has experienced a combination of highs and lows at Perth's Barbagallo Raceway today in the second and third heats of Round 5 of the 2003 Australian V8 ...
Weekend of mixed fortunes for FPR in Perth
June 8, 2003 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) has experienced a combination of highs and lows at Perth's Barbagallo Raceway today in the second and third heats of Round 5 of the 2003 Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series.
CAT FPR BA Falcon driver Craig Lowndes, a four time winner of this event during his career, remains 8th overall in the Championship standings despite crashing out of this morning's opening race while in 9th position. He returned for today's second race from the rear of the field (32nd) and finished 17th.
Ford Credit FPR BA Falcon pilot Glenn Seton performed strongly with a difficult car to finish 15th and 18th in today's races, which were held in fine and warm conditions. Seton remains within sight of the top ten in the Championship at 12th overall.
FPV FPR Falcon driver David Besnard finished 20th in today's first race and was classified 30th after spinning out of Sunday's second race following contact with Steven Ellery. Besnard continues to gain points earning finishes in the team's sole remaining AU Falcon, with his new BA Falcon expected to make its debut in Queensland (Round 7).
Ford Australia gained a fourth consecutive V8 Supercar round victory today with SBR Falcon driver Marcos Ambrose taking the spoils ahead of Holden drivers Greg Murphy and Steven Richards.
#6 Craig Lowndes - "I was very happy with the changes we made following race two, we had the best set up of the weekend during race three - the guys did a great job during the pit stops and we learned a lot that will be a great help for us next year. I made a mistake in race two which caused me to start race three from the back of the grid, this ended what could have been a promising third race given the much improved performance of the car."
#5 Glenn Seton - "I was expecting better things from this round than the results we gained. I struggled with mid corner understeer and power down grip all weekend. We made slight improvements during the weekend, but these changes weren't enough to make us significantly faster. Its only the second race in our newest car and we haven't yet had a test day with it, so once we gain more track time with it, I am sure that we will be looking at better results to come."
#19 David Besnard - "My tyres seemed to last very well during the two races today until I had caught Steve Ellery and my team mates ahead of him. Then as the tyre wear became worse, it was a matter of holding on to the group - hoping that someone would make a mistake or come out of a corner a bit slow, which Ellery did at the end of the race. I went down the inside of him, we touched coming out of the corner and my rear wheel went over his front wheel. I think we both expected to only have a bit of a rub - but it spun me around and did some damage to his car, as he went on to roll it as he had no brakes. I spoke to Steve about it, we gave eachother room and didn't expect the touch to have such major consequences. Other than that we improved the car with each race and I was mixing it with some much newer cars today, so I couldn't really expect much more from the equipment we have got at this stage."
#FPR Chief Engineer John Russell - "A tough weekend for FPR, we move on and learn as we did at Winton. It was unfortunate that Craig missed out on a top ten finish today as we had made some major gains with his car for the third race. Its all a part of the learning experience for us and we go to Darwin with more valuable data."
#FPR General Manager, Jon Matthews - "This was one of those races that proved that we still have a lot to learn on low grip circuits. The crew have worked very hard this weekend and it would have been great to have gained better rewards for their efforts. On the upside, the support of our new team by the fans here in Perth has been incredible and totally beyond our expectations. Our merchandise based commercial activities here have been remarkable."
For further information contact Paul Marinelli, FPR Media Relations - 0417 558 655.
Print quality images from this weekend's action in Perth are available from the FPR on line media centre - www.fpv.com.au/mediacentre
Race Two Summary
Lowndes did not make a good start to the first of today's two 100 kilometre races, but raced defensively into the first turn to hold off the advances of HRT driver Todd Kelly, preserving his 6th position. Seton dropped one position on the opening lap to 15th and Besnard made another strong start to gain two positions.
Glenn Seton was the first FPR driver to pit on lap 5, followed by Besnard on lap 8. The first of three Safety Car periods during the 42 lap race saw the team bring Lowndes into the pits on lap 9. Lowndes coped with a lack of corner exit grip to hold on to 10th position, and passed Holden driver Jason Bright into 9th on the 34th lap. He pursued Simon Wills closely until the penultimate lap when his front brakes locked at the entry to turn 7 and he collided with Wills, sending both cars into the turn 7 sand trap and out of the race.
Seton competed consistently throughout the second race, the double Champion also struggling to find grip on the abrasive and slippery Barbagallo circuit surface. Despite this, Seton defended his position strongly from Ford drivers Steven Ellery and Max Wilson to finish 15th.
Besnard's race was one of steady progress, racing to 21st position after his stop and challenging the two DJR BA Falcons in the process. The 26 year old also engaged in a close multi-lap battle with AU Falcon driver Mark Noske, who slipped past the FPV FPR AU Falcon driver in the closing stages of the race. Besnard finished the race exactly where he started in 20th.
Race Three Summary
The third and final 100 kilometre race of the Western Australian round saw Lowndes start from last on the grid following his race one accident. Seton started from 15th and Besnard from 20th. Lowndes powered his CAT FPR BA Falcon to a great start, but less than half way around the first lap a tap from Paul Morris forced him into a spin that dropped him back to the rear of the field. After pitting for tyres on lap 3, Lowndes raced up to 20th by the half way point of the race and continued his progress to 17th by the end of the 42 laps.
Seton lost one spot at the start to 16th before pitting on lap 5. He returned to the track in 24th and raced to 18th by lap 21. The Ford Credit FPR BA Falcon driver headed his team mate Lowndes for six laps until the first Safety Car appeared on lap 32. Lowndes made his way past in the closing stages, relegating Seton to18th.
Besnard pitted on lap 4 while in 20th position, besides his best efforts to move through the field, his car was not up to the task once his tyre wear developed, losing two places to 22nd by mid race - he was still able to chase and challenge BA Falcon driver Steven Ellery though, who spectacularly rolled his BA Falcon with three laps to go following contact with Besnard on the previous corner which caused Besnard to slip off the circuit into a sand trap. He was classified 24th.