Across The Tasman For Third V8 Supercar Round April 26, 2004 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) heads to the land of the long white cloud this weekend for the third round of the 2004 V8 Supercar Championship Series at Auckland's fast and exciting...
Across The Tasman For Third V8 Supercar Round
April 26, 2004 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) heads to the land of the long white cloud this weekend for the third round of the 2004 V8 Supercar Championship Series at Auckland's fast and exciting Pukekohe Park Raceway.
The two FPR BA Falcons spent an all too brief one and a half weeks back at the team's Melbourne headquarters, where the team continued important engine and chassis development work. The team's tasks were assisted greatly due to the fact that team drivers Craig Lowndes and Glenn Seton returned their V8 Supercars in perfect condition following the treacherously wet Eastern Creek round three weeks ago.
CAT FPR Falcon driver Craig Lowndes arrives in New Zealand eager to continue the devastating form the 29 year old driver displayed in Sydney - a timely reminder to his competitors that the triple V8 Supercar Champion is racing to win in 2004.
Ford Credit FPV Falcon driver Glenn Seton, who has held the Pukekohe lap record since 1996, is seeking a strong points haul in New Zealand to bring the double Champion closer to the series leaders after a disappointing start to the season.
If the previous four V8 Supercar Championship rounds held at the sweeping 2.8 kilometre Pukekohe circuit are any indication, Kiwi motor racing fans should expect three fast paced and highly competitive races this weekend. The only unpredictable factor will be the weather, this round becoming notorious in recent years for unexpected rain during at least one of the three heats.
The opening 36 lap race takes place on Saturday afternoon with two 54 lap / 150 kilometre races being held on Sunday afternoon. Practice and qualifying starts on Friday.
#6 Craig Lowndes - "The weather is always the biggest unknown in New Zealand, during the last couple of years it has rained on at least one of the race days, so it can play a big part. Pukekohe is one of the bumpiest tracks we race at, but it is also one of the most exciting. I particularly like it heading over the crest towards the start finish line. Car speed, strategy and consistency will be imperative at this round and this circuit requires good horsepower. The team has been working to ensure that we have the pace we need this weekend, so we'll see how it is when we roll the car out on Friday. I have never won a race across the Tasman so I am very eager to change that."
#5 Glenn Seton - "The most interesting thing about this year's race is the date change - none of us know exactly what to expect with the weather and the cooler ambient conditions, compared to what we have been used to in past years. The team has been working hard to improve our cars for this race and we intend to be stronger than we have been in the first two rounds at Pukekohe. This is an exciting time for New Zealand motor racing fans with our event directly following their World Rally Championship round and considering the competitiveness of the V8 Supercar series to date, we will put on a great show for them."
FPR Chief Engineer, John Russell - "FPR heads to New Zealand buoyed by Craig's result at Eastern Creek and looking forward to building on the development gained at that event. This is our first proper sprint round of the season and we look forward to being competitive in this racing format."
Due to the tight V8 Supercar racing schedule following this round, FPR has elected to air freight their two BA Falcon V8 Supercars back to Australia following the New Zealand round, enabling the team to continue their development work ahead of the two domestic long haul rounds in Darwin and Perth.
FPR NEW ZEALAND FACT FILE
This will be the fifth V8 Supercar visit to Pukekohe. Glenn Seton has competed at all five Pukekohe events (including the non Australian Championship 1996 event).
Glenn Seton is the outright lap record holder for Pukekohe Park (57.35 seconds), the record set in 1996 during the V8 Supercar category's first visit to the circuit.
That meeting was the second event of a two-round NZ series, the first round of which was held at a street circuit located in the Wellington docks area. Seton was one of only six current drivers to compete in that series, finishing third overall. Craig Lowndes didn't compete in this series, having decided to leave the V8 Supercar Series at the end of his victorious 1996 Australian Championship season to compete in the FIA Formula 3000 Championship.
Craig Lowndes heads to Pukekohe on a high having scored his 38th Championship podium finish four weeks ago at Eastern Creek. Lowndes has now finished on the podium at 44 per cent of the championship rounds he has contested. Eastern Creek is therefore the scene of Lowndes' first and most recent podium results, as the 29 year old won upon Championship debut at the Creek in 1996.
Craig Lowndes still has a way to go to match Glenn Seton's tally of 52 podium finishes. Seton sits equal fourth on the 'most podium finishes' list, alongside fellow Ford legend Allan Moffat.
Holden driver Greg Murphy has won all three V8 Supercar rounds at Pukekohe to date, along with the 1996 NZ Series. It is every Ford team's goal to take the first blue oval V8 Supercar round victory across the Tasman.