Sandown: FPR race report

BRIGHT TOP SIX FINISH IN SANDOWN ENDURO September 11, 2005 - Ford Performance Racing has raced into the top six at the first of two major endurance races of the season, the Sandown 500 in Melbourne. CAT FPR Falcon drivers Jason Bright and David...


September 11, 2005 - Ford Performance Racing has raced into the top six at the first of two major endurance races of the season, the Sandown 500 in Melbourne. CAT FPR Falcon drivers Jason Bright and David Brabham combined skillful driving and excellent team pit strategy calls, to overcome the fluctuating wet and dry conditions and an accident to finish 6th.

Ford Credit FPV Falcon drivers Greg Ritter and Cameron McLean also performed strongly, despite finding the worst of the weather changes while on alternate tyre types. Despite this, the two FPR drivers followed their race plan to gain a points earning finish at this event by finishing 15th out of the 26 cars that made it to the chequered from 34 entries.

The 500 kilometre race was completed in three hours and thirty minutes by Ford drivers Craig Lowndes and Yvan Muller ahead of Todd Kelly and Mark Skaife, with Jason Richards and Jamie Whincup third.

The race threw FPR's race engineers and pit crew many challenges throughout as the combination of light showers and winds kept transforming the circuit from dry to wet, with frequent greasy conditions sending many drivers on off-circuit forays.

The drama started early for CAT FPR Falcon driver David Brabham, who completed his first race start in a V8 Supercar today. On the second lap his window netting collapsed and while defending position he had to re-attach it, then get on with the task at hand. He was progressing well until an impact from Glenn Seton forced the international Sportscar driver into a spin on the sixth lap, dropping him to last. Jason Bright took over the driving duties from lap 68 (out of 161) on wet weather tyres as heavy rain began to fall. Taking over from 15th position, intermittent showers made the going very difficult, Bright braving the conditions to race into the top ten by lap 97 of 161. After one more stop Bright raced from 14th position to 6th by the chequered flag, a high points earning result for the new CAT FPR Falcon in its first race.

Greg Ritter started the Ford Credit FPV Falcon challenge, making up two places at the start and entering the top ten on the 26th lap. On lap 57 he had raced into 6th position, assisted by competitor pit stops. Cameron McLean took over from 14th position, as track conditions worsened from greasy to wet and dry again. On the 99th lap McLean lost time as he received an impact from Warren Luff, that sent him off the circuit and costing the SBR driver a retrospective 25 second race penalty. McLean recovered to continue the race and pitted to hand the car back to Greg on the 113th lap. Greg continued the race from 14th position on wet weather tyres that deteriorated badly by the closing stages of the race. He finished the race in 15th position.

#6 Jason Bright - "We certainly didn't get the start to the day that we wanted, but the team made the right calls in regard to pit stops and our race was faultless following David's accident. Our run through the field from the back proved once again that in this race if you stay out there you can gain a strong result, as people seem to have trouble finishing this race. A great effort by the team."

#6 David Brabham - "I haven't started a race in a V8 Supercar before, so that was a new experience. All was going to plan until the netting on the door popped open. I had to slow to fix that and shortly after I was the victim of some unacceptable driving when I was knocked off the track. Jason did a great job for the remainder of the race and the team made some great strategy calls to bring us home in 6th place. A good finish for the new car and I'm looking forward to returning for Bathurst."

#5 Greg Ritter - "It was a long and frustrating race with some pot luck required with strategies due to the conditions. The ones who guessed the weather right came out on top, unfortunately we were on wet tyres each time that the circuit dried out. By the closing stages of the race the rain returned, the wets turned into virtual slicks so we couldn't help but drop down the order.We had to take the conservative approach as it was essential that we finish this race. We had the car speed to be higher up the field but the cards didn't fall our way today."

#5 Cameron McLean - "The race came down to a lucky dip in regard to having the right tyres at the right time - the car finished strong and straight and our performance and reliability is very promising leading up to Bathurst."

FPR Motorsport Director, Tim Edwards - "A fantastic result for Jason and David in the new car, a combination of the team's great pit strategy and pit stops which moved us from last to 6th even with all of the changes in the weather. A bit disappointing for Greg and Cameron as their stops fell on the wrong side of the weather, but they kept to their race plan of gaining points. All in all a great effort by all of our drivers and the team today."

CAT FPR Falcon driver Jason Bright is now 7th in the V8 Supercar Championship standings following the Sandown 500 with 1066 points (adjusted). Greg Ritter continues to add points to his tally of 525 following this event.


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Series Supercars
Drivers David Brabham , Yvan Muller , Jason Bright , Craig Lowndes , Jason Richards , Jamie Whincup , Glenn Seton , Todd Kelly , Cameron McLean , Greg Ritter , Warren Luff , Tim Edwards