Hidden Valley: Ford Performance Racing preview

FPR HEADS TO THE TOP END SEEKING THE TOP STEP ON THE PODIUM June 26, 2006 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) heads to Australia's tropical Northern Territory this weekend for one of the Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series' most popular ...


June 26, 2006 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) heads to Australia's tropical Northern Territory this weekend for one of the Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series' most popular events.

Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway plays host to the 5th Round of the Championship - a venue that has delivered strong results for both FPR Falcon drivers Jason Bright and Mark Winterbottom in the past.

In his seven visits to Hidden Valley to date, CAT FPR Falcon driver Bright has finished on the Darwin podium four times. This includes racing to his first ever round victory with Ford in 1999. He also finished second overall at this event in both 2001 and 2002, and third in 2003. He also boasts a strong Hidden Valley qualifying record. He was the Darwin round pole-sitter in 2002, backing that up with two second row starting positions in the following two years. Bright also has the distinction of holding the V8 Supercar qualifying and race lap records at Hidden Valley.

BroadIP Ford Credit Falcon driver Mark Winterbottom staked his place as a potential V8 Supercar front runner when he scored a top ten finish at Hidden Valley on debut with Ford in 2004. He backed this up with the 5th fastest lap in qualifying and a debut top ten shoot out appearance in Darwin last season. This will be Winterbottom's third V8 Supercar visit to the Northern Territory and he is seeking his fourth consecutive top ten result of the season. Over the last three rounds the 25-year-old has progressed from ninth to six in the championship standings thanks to his speed and consistency.

With both FPR drivers registering runner-up podium finishes from the first four rounds of the 2006 season, Bright and Winterbottom head to Darwin feeling confident of their goal to occupy the top steps of the top end podium this weekend.

#6 Jason Bright - "I have always enjoyed racing at Hidden Valley. I have had some great races there and I have no doubt that the nature of this circuit will particularly suit our cars. Our speed coming into this round places FPR in a very strong position for success. After coming so close at Winton, I couldn't think of a better place to take that top step on the podium. This is a major event in Darwin and our races at Hidden Valley generate a great deal of excitement and atmosphere with the Northern Territory fans."

#5 Mark Winterbottom - "I like Hidden Valley because it is a fast and flowing circuit that suits my driving style. This circuit will also suit our cars very well based on the speed that we have shown on this type of circuit so far this season. I have had one visit to the podium with FPR and I am eager for more - Darwin would be just the place given the atmosphere of this great round."

FPR Motorsport Director, Tim Edwards - "After three competitive rounds we go to Darwin with the sole aim of repeating this form. We're under no illusions that this will be an easy task, as the series is as competitive as ever with tenths and hundredths of a second separating the field. Aside from the racing we all look forward to the trip north to Darwin as it is a great place to visit."

An interesting point leading into the Darwin round is that this will be the fourth time that Bright will be competing in the team's spare CAT FPR Falcon chassis. This was the first of three newly built FPR Falcons at the start of the 2005 season. The car was originally raced by Greg Ritter and David Brabham last season - and it was the fastest car on the track bar none at Winton one month ago.

This is the 9th time that the V8 Supercar Championship Series visits the 2.9 kilometre Hidden Valley circuit. Three hot V8 Supercar races will take place over the weekend, a 34 lap sprint race on Saturday afternoon and two grueling 48-lap races on Sunday. All three will feature a compulsory pitstop for tyres. Sunday morning's race will be a reverse grid battle, where Saturday's fastest race finishers will start the race from the rear of the field.

Bright and Winterbottom will also be visiting the city of Alice Springs on Wednesday June 28 on their way to Darwin, meeting the local media and fans at a number of locations throughout the day. Alice Springs based V8 Supercar fans can meet the FPR drivers by checking locations and times on the new FPR website - -www.fpr.com.au .


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Series Supercars
Drivers Jason Bright , Mark Winterbottom , Greg Ritter , Tim Edwards