Symmons Plains: FPR Sunday report

BRIGHT & WINTERBOTTOM FINISH SECOND & THIRD IN TASMANIA November 12, 2006 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) drivers Jason Bright and Mark Winterbottom have finished second and third overall after a drama filled three races at the 11th Round of...


November 12, 2006 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) drivers Jason Bright and Mark Winterbottom have finished second and third overall after a drama filled three races at the 11th Round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Symmons Plains Raceway today.

After an outstanding weekend which saw the Prodrive team qualify 3rd and 5th, followed by team's first V8 Supercar 1,2 finish in Saturday's opening race of the round, FPR Falcon drivers Bright and Winterbottom were the fastest Ford drivers during today's two 56 lap races held in wet and slippery circuit conditions.

Despite both drivers' best efforts and some very swift pit work to change from wet weather tyres to slick (dry) tyres during both races, Winterbottom fractionally missed the race two victory taking a fighting second place behind Garth Tander, with Bright taking third after leading the race by as much as 12 seconds during the first half. An off circuit foray on the 36th lap and an engine stall when exiting from his pit stop during that race cost Bright the round victory today. A number of accidents in the slippery circuit conditions caused two lengthy Safety Car caution periods.

The third race saw both FPR Falcon drivers in strong form starting from 2nd (Winterbottom) and 3rd (Bright) on the grid, racing well ahead of a major first lap accident involving Russell Ingall, Jason Bargwanna and Andrew Jones. This was the first of a frustrating four Safety Car caution periods for the race, all taking place while Winterbottom and Bright battled with race leader Garth Tander for the win. Both FPR drivers remained close to the Holden driver throughout, taking turns to try and get past before the chequered flag. Tander managed to hold off the FPR duo by half a second to win the race and the round, from Bright in second place and Winterbottom in third.

This result gave Tander the round victory by the slimmest possible margin of a single point from Bright in second and Winterbottom third, just five points adrift.

FPR's speedy performance at this third last round of the 2006 V8 Supercar Championship has brought Winterbottom to within 272 points of Championship leader Rick Kelly, while the gap between the 25 year old racer and second placed Craig Lowndes has reduced to 199 points. Bright has elevated himself one position in the points standings to 6th.

#6 Jason Bright - "We had a great car in the wet or the dry this weekend. A couple of school-boy errors wrecked my chances of winning the round. I stalled when leaving the pits during the race two pit stop and Garth beat us out, then after catching and passing him I had an almighty moment later in the race and was lucky not to have thrown myself out of it as a result. I have no doubt that it was our round win for the taking this weekend. The team's work on the cars and in the pits was exceptional and we head to Bahrain planning to win."

#5 Mark Winterbottom - "It was a busy second race for me today, as I was told to turn just about everything off except the engine as we experienced some alternator problems. We had two very strong cars here all weekend and this has been proven by our results. Our cars continue to get stronger and I only wish that we had more rounds in the Championship. We are solidly placed in the top three heading into the final two rounds and we are expecting a very strong finish to the season."

FPR Motorsport Director, Tim Edwards - "An absolutely fantastic effort by our drivers and the team, with outstanding car pace and pit stops throughout the weekend. To miss out on the round win by just one point is as close as you can get and we head to Bahrain and Phillip Island feeling very confident of even better results. In fact, having seen the Bahrain circuit and with our vast experience at Phillip Island, I believe that these circuits will suit us even better than Symmons Plains did and this bodes well for a very strong finish to the season."

FPR's Round 11 result also marks the first time that both FPR Falcons have finished a V8 Supercar Championship round on the podium, while it also marked the first round where both FPR Falcons have finished in the top three in all three sprint races making up the round.

The blue oval team now packs its completely unscathed FPR Falcons and the many spare parts required for the long trip to the Bahrain International Circuit, where the historic 12th Round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series will be held from November 23-25.

-credit: fpr

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Garth Tander , Jason Bright , Russell Ingall , Rick Kelly , Craig Lowndes , Jason Bargwanna , Mark Winterbottom , Tim Edwards , Phillip Island