BOTH FPR FALCONS IN ORAN PARK TOP FIVE August 18, 2007 - After lining up on the Oran Park Raceway starting grid as the two fastest Ford qualifiers in 6th (Winterbottom) and 8th (Richards), the opening Round 8 race got off to a fast start for...
BOTH FPR FALCONS IN ORAN PARK TOP FIVE
August 18, 2007 - After lining up on the Oran Park Raceway starting grid as the two fastest Ford qualifiers in 6th (Winterbottom) and 8th (Richards), the opening Round 8 race got off to a fast start for both FPR Falcon drivers with Winterbottom and Richards powering into 3rd and 6th positions in the opening stages. The third lap saw early race leader Garth Tander exit the circuit at turn three and retire in the pits due to a component failure.
Winterbottom was the first of the FPR duo to be called into the pits on lap seven for his compulsory put stop followed by team mate Richards on the next lap. After their stops, Winterbottom and Richards re-joined the race in 15th and 16th positions. The third lap saw early leader Garth Tander exit the circuit at turn three and retire in the pits due to a component failure.
The completion of their competitors' pit stops elevated the FPR drivers to their corrected 4th and 5th positions by one third race distance (lap 12). The top three at this point consisted of Mark Skaife, Jamie Whincup and Rick Kelly with Winterbottom and Richards in close pursuit at 4/10ths of a second behind.
At the mid point of the race, Winterbottom and Richards had established a gap of over five seconds between the top five and the rest of the field, setting consistently fast lap times throughout.
The rest of the race would prove to be a fast paced procession for the top five, with Winterbottom and Richards finishing an unchallenged 4th and 5th, more than seven seconds ahead of Will Davison, Craig Lowndes and Todd Kelly.
The race victory went to Mark Skaife who finished 6/10ths of a second ahead of Rick Kelly with Ford racer Jamie Whincup third. Cool and overcast conditions prevailed during the race which saw one Safety Car caution period and six retirements.
#5 Mark Winterbottom - "It was a pretty good day. During qualifying the car was strong but we had to use all three sets of tyres to get into the final segment. In the race I had a good start and went into turn one fourth. We had a bit of a slow stop and lost a couple of spots, we should have come out in second position but we came out in fourth and stayed there. I hit a kerb mid-race which felt like I may have bent a shock absorber, so I think I was quicker than we really showed, but having said this, fourth in the opening race is a solid result. We're only one spot off the podium and if one of the guys ahead of us has a hiccup tomorrow we will be ready to pounce."
#6 Steve Richards -" A top five in race one of the weekend is always a good start, hopefully we will be able to build on this from here to try and climb up the order. We don't need to gain a lot from the car to build on our competitiveness and be amongst the top three. We'll sit down tonight and have a look at the opening race from a chassis dynamics point of view and see what sort of small changes we need to make."
FPR Team Principal, Tim Edwards - "A good start to the weekend with two straight and reliable cars. Both drivers drove conservatively for most of the race to preserve their tyres for the two remaining races. We plan to build a strong round result from these two top five results today."
Winterbottom's 4th place finish today was his personal best V8 Supercar Championship Series race result at Oran Park. Today's race also marked the first time this season that both FPR Falcons have finished a race inside the top five.
FPR now focuses the team's efforts on the the second and third V8 Supercar races to decide the round which will take place at 10:40am and 1:40pm tomorrow.