confusing Winton qualifying session May 24, 2003 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) drivers Craig Lowndes, Glenn Seton and David Besnard will start Sunday's fourth round of the 2003 Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series from 14th, 18th and...
confusing Winton qualifying session
May 24, 2003 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) drivers Craig Lowndes, Glenn Seton and David Besnard will start Sunday's fourth round of the 2003 Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series from 14th, 18th and 30th on the grid after a qualifying session spoiled by a timing malfunction.
The twenty minute session was ended by race officials with three minutes and twenty seconds remaining, causing confusion within the FPR pit garage along with the entire pit lane. Team crews using their own timing realised that their drivers were slowing on the circuit despite the session not having reached the full twenty minutes allocated.
Once the race officials became aware of the error, they elected to re-start the session for the time lost and at least one installation lap. This caused a frantic rush between competitors to get drivers back into their cars to try and complete at least one or two flying laps within the short remaining window of opportunity.
For Lowndes, it was a particularly disruptive end and re-start to the session in his CAT FPR BA Falcon. He was the fastest of the FPR drivers following both parts of the qualifying session with a fastest lap time of 1:23.8265s placing the triple Champion 14th on Sunday's grid.
Ford Credit FPR BA Falcon driver Glenn Seton waited in pit lane while the confusion over the timing error was sorted. He joined his team mate for the re-instated final few minutes, but did not improve on his fastest lap already set of 1:24.0128s, placing him 18th for the start of Winton's 300 kilometre race.
FPV FPR Falcon driver David Besnard once again improved his lap times during the disrupted session in the team's single remaining AU Falcon, his best lap time of 1:24.4202s placing him 30th overall.
Pole position went to SBR Falcon driver Marcus Ambrose with his lap time of 1:23.2604s, a mere 1/100th of a second faster than Holden drivers Jason Bright and Greg Murphy.
Sunday's race is scheduled to start at 1:10pm and will cover a physically demanding 100 laps of the twisty three kilometre Winton circuit. The fine but cool weather experienced so far at this regional Victorian venue is expected to continue tomorrow.
#6 Craig Lowndes - "The car kept its balance on a new set of tyres and the improvements we made worked well, but the timing mess up forced us to compromise our strategy and it caused confusion in the pits as well. I improved my lap time during the extra time but not as much as I would have liked."
#5 Glenn Seton - "The car was much better with fresh tyres but we still have a couple of things that we need to improve on. I was held up a bit on my fastest lap which was disappointing but we have done the best we could today, considering that this car hadn't turned a wheel before Friday."
#19 David Besnard - "We improved again during qualifying, but so did the rest of the field, so all we can do from this point is ensure that we have a consistent car for the race as we are starting from a fair way back and it will be a long race tomorrow."
FPR Chief Engineer John Russell - "A frustrating day with us showing our inexperience of the circuit and failing to provide the drivers with a perfect set up. We further compromised Craig's qualifying by some confusion in the pits due to the timing malfunction. I'm pleased to see Glenn has made good use of the limited time in his new car and that David continues to do his best in Glenn's old car. As we have seen many times so far this season the race can throw a few surprises, so we look forward to Sunday."
FPR General Manager, Jon Matthews - "The confusion caused by the timing mistake during qualifying was not what we needed given the pressure on the drivers to try and make the top ten shootout. A good effort by Craig, Glenn and David in the circumstances and we will now concentrate on a strong team race performance tomorrow."