FPR STARTS DARWIN ROUND IN THE TOP THREE July 1, 2006 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) has started the Darwin V8 Supercar round campaign strongly with a fighting third place finish by BroadIP Ford Credit Falcon driver Mark Winterbottom in today's...
FPR STARTS DARWIN ROUND IN THE TOP THREE
July 1, 2006 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) has started the Darwin V8 Supercar round campaign strongly with a fighting third place finish by BroadIP Ford Credit Falcon driver Mark Winterbottom in today's opening 34 lap race at Hidden Valley Raceway.
The 25 year old expanded on his reputation as the sensation of the 2006 V8 Supercar Series by qualifying 5th and racing his way up to third today. The FPR Falcon driver leap-frogged rival Garth Tander thanks to an impressive 3.6 second pit stop for rear tyres on the 7th lap. Winterbottom then resisted the constant advances of Ford driver Craig Lowndes for the remainder of the race to gain a podium finish.
After starting strongly from his second consecutive Pole position of the season, CAT FPR Falcon driver Jason Bright led the race for 12 laps and with the help of fast work by the FPR pit crew, managed to stay ahead of rival Mark Skaife after his compulsory pit stop on the 8th lap. Four laps later his front left tyre exploded while traveling in excess of 250kph on the 1.1 kilometre Hidden Valley straight. (A slow leaking puncture is suspected to have caused this). Bright managed to complete the lap and return to the pits for a replacement, soldiering on to finish 24th. Bright, who is the current Hidden Valley lap record holder, set the fastest lap of the race and is in very strong form for both of tomorrow's physically demanding 48 lap races, despite having been struck by a stomach virus on Friday.
The race was won by Mark Skaife ahead of Rick Kelly and Mark Winterbottom with Craig Lowndes, Garth Tander and Jason Richards making up the top six.
#5 Mark Winterbottom - "I gained two spots in the shoot-out and two places in the race, so I am very happy with my start to the weekend. Our pit work was excellent once again and my only concern in the race was the rear tyres wear. I wasn't having any problems holding off Craig during the race except at turn one, when my lack of rear end traction was causing some oversteer. He wasn't able to catch me anywhere else on the track as we have great horsepower here and with some improvements to the chassis we expect to be faster tomorrow."
#6 Jason Bright - "We had a good car today, we definitely had the measure on the field early in the race and after the pit stop I continued to drive away from Mark (Skaife) and I was quite surprised with how easy it was to break away. Things started to get strange a few laps after and this must have been the left front tyre deflating - then it popped at the fastest point of the track. We had the pace of the field today and I think that we can get some more out of the car, so the focus is on the two remaining races."
FPR Motorsport Director, Tim Edwards - "Some mixed emotions after this race, it was fantastic to gain Pole position in the top ten shoot-out once again and to have both cars in the top five, but to have a tyre explode when Jason was clearly the fastest driver on the track while in the lead and after his pit stop was very disappointing. Mark drove a great race to resist the advances of Craig Lowndes, learning from his experiences in the past three rounds to stay ahead. The team's pit stops were outstanding today and once again we made up places as a result."
FPR will return to the track for the two remaining 48 lap races that will decide the Northern Territory round at 11:30am and 3:15pm EST.