July 20, 2003 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) drivers Craig Lowndes and David Besnard finished 6th and 11th in the BigPond 300 at Queensland Raceway today. Glenn Seton's lasted only 11 laps due to the failure of an engine component. CAT FPR...
July 20, 2003 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) drivers Craig Lowndes and David Besnard finished 6th and 11th in the BigPond 300 at Queensland Raceway today. Glenn Seton's lasted only 11 laps due to the failure of an engine component.
CAT FPR Falcon driver Lowndes was in superb form today, making up two positions to 8th by the 4th lap. By quarter race distance Lowndes was 7th and the team called the first of their compulsory pit stops, a fuel stop, on lap 42. By the 50 lap mark Lowndes remained in 7th position, making his second stop for tyres on lap 56. The triple Champion then began a charge that saw him engage in an exciting ten lap battle with Ford rivals Paul Radisich and John Bowe, setting comparable lap times to the race leaders in the process. On the 88th lap Lowndes powered past Bowe and continued on to finish the 300 kilometre race in a solid 6th place.
The race debut of David Besnard's FPV FPR BA Falcon saw him make up two positions to 13th by the 35 lap point of the long race. The defending Queensland Raceway winner was called into the pits on lap 44 for fuel, the FPR crew sending him out in good time to continue his charge towards the top ten. Besnard returned to the pits on lap 53 for tyres and for the next 43 laps he raced from 14th to 11th position, just missing out on a top ten finish for the third FPR BA Falcon.
Ford Credit FPR Falcon driver Glenn Seton endured a short and frustrating race, with a slipping clutch at the start dropping him to 17th (from 12th on the grid) on the first lap and by the 11th lap the double Champion's race was over when a crank trigger failure caused a punctured radiator.
Today's race was won by SBR Falcon driver Russell Ingall with team mate Marcos Ambrose second ahead of Holden driver Todd Kelly. This result was the sixth consecutive victory of the season for Ford Australia.
Following Team FPR's results in the 7th round of the Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series, Lowndes is now 8th in the points standings, Seton is 16th and Besnard begins a long climb through the Championship order at 22nd.
Of note today was the fact that the entire 96 lap race was held without a single Safety Car caution period, despite several red flag stoppages during each of the practice and qualifying sessions over the weekend. The race was held in generally fine conditions with some cloudy periods.
#6 Craig Lowndes - "Qualifying hurt us this weekend, we worked hard to develop a good race car that would take care of its tyres and the longer the race went, the faster the car became. I had a close battle with John Bowe and it took some time to get by him, but once we did I was able to set faster laps in clean air, but by then we just ran out of laps to move up further."
#19 David Besnard - "My result wasn't as good as what we wanted but it was close to the top ten, which is very promising. Its an encouraging start for the new car and we will build on this to stay within the top ten and improve from there. It was a long and hard race, it was particularly tough with no Safety Car periods over 300 kilometres."
#5 Glenn Seton - "It was a huge disappointment to not get any points towards the Championship here - that will hurt us a lot. The clutch was slipping at the start and I had to cool it down, but once it came back the car was good, but we won't know how good it could have been as there wasn't enough laps before the engine failure ended my race. We will keep developing the car from here, so we can have the strongest car possible for Sandown and Bathurst."
FPR Chief Engineer, John Russell - "A shame about Glenn's race ending so early due to a minor engine problem, otherwise it was a very solid race performance by Craig and David. Coming here with a brand new car for David and for it to perform the way it did and finish the race distance was excellent for the team."
FPR General Manager Jon Matthews - "This race brings to a close a very exciting chapter in my short career in motorsport. The major transition from a one car team to a three car team and bringing together a fabulous group of 32 people who have proven they are all capable of performing has been an incredible experience. I will watch with interest and I hope that FPR can deliver strong results for Ford fans in 2003 and beyond."