WINTERBOTTOM AND BRIGHT IN TOP END TOP TEN July 2, 2006 - Ford Performance Racin g (FPR) drivers Mark Winterbottom and Jason Bright have finished 5th and 8th overall in the fifth round of the 2006 Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series held...
WINTERBOTTOM AND BRIGHT IN TOP END TOP TEN
July 2, 2006 - Ford Performance Racin g (FPR) drivers Mark Winterbottom and Jason Bright have finished 5th and 8th overall in the fifth round of the 2006 Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series held at Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway over the weekend.
Both FPR Falcon drivers were aiming for podium finishes at this round following the team's extraordinary qualifying performances with Bright taking his second consecutive pole position of the season and Winterbottom setting the 5th fastest lap time in qualifying.
Bright was leading Saturday's opening top end race for 12 laps before clipping a tyre wall and puncturing his front left tyre. An exposed retaining bolt in a circuit tyre-barrier caused the damage that effectively ended any chance for Bright to make the podium at this round. This was particularly disappointing for the CAT FPR Falcon driver, as he won today's 46 lap reverse grid race and starred in a storming drive to 4th (from 13th on the grid) in the third and final race to finish 8th overall. Bright also set the fastest lap of the round during that race, further proving that he had the car and team that had the potential to win in the Northern Territory.
Winterbottom's BroadIP Ford Credit Falcon was the second fastest car in the field today, following on from his superb third place finish in Saturday's opening race. The 25 year old driver was caught out today by a pit lane infringement, the team sending him into the fast lane a fraction late and narrowly avoiding contact with competitor Steve Owen. This dropped Winterbottom from a potential front row start in today's third and final race. Starting from 5th on the grid in the final Darwin battle, a wheel nut problem in the pits was his only delay and he finished in 8th place.
Bright and Ford driver Craig Lowndes were the race two and three winners today, Lowndes taking the overall round win from Garth Tander and Rick Kelly.
Winterbottom has moved up to 5th in the Championship standings with 1191 points following this round, while Bright remains 11th with 954 points.
#6 Jason Bright - "It has been disappointing as we had a quick car and we proved that in qualifying and during every race, so to not be standing on the podium at the end of the weekend hurts a bit. We suffered a cruel blow with the bolt in the tyre barrier ending our first race while in a good lead - we have to take that on the chin and we have no doubt at all that we will have a real rocket at Queensland Raceway and for the rest of the season."
#5 Mark Winterbottom - "It was a tough weekend overall - had the pit lane altercation not taken place, I was heading for a front row start for race three which may well have changed things completely. We lost a lot of ground in race three with our long pit stop and everything started to overheat during the race as well, so I was struggling with horsepower and brakes. To finish 5th despite these problems is still a good sign and we learned a lot about the car this weekend. It is still disappointing as I believe that we could have had both cars on the top two steps of the podium this weekend,"
FPR Motorsport Director, Tim Edwards - "A fantastic drive by both drivers this weekend but the ultimate results didn't reflect the fact that we had the fastest cars out there by far. We are all disappointed about Jason's race one result rafter gaining pole position and taking the lead before and after our pit stop. We hope that lessons have been learned from what happened to Jason and that this doesn't happen to anyone else in future. We look forward to taking our fast pace to Queensland Raceway later this month."
Round six of the 2006 V8 Supercar Championship Series takes place at Queensland Raceway on July 21-23.