Winton: FPR preview

FPR LOOKING FOR A TURN IN FORTUNES AT WINTON Ford Performance Racing will be pulling out all stops to produce some solid results in races 11 & 12 of the V8 Supercar Championship at Winton Raceway this weekend. While some great results have...

FPR LOOKING FOR A TURN IN FORTUNES AT WINTON

Ford Performance Racing will be pulling out all stops to produce some solid results in races 11 & 12 of the V8 Supercar Championship at Winton Raceway this weekend.

While some great results have been posted this season, it has been a rare occurrence that both FPR Falcons have enjoyed excellent speed and reliability at the same time - but with Winton being Ford Performance Racing's home circuit, hopefully this weekend will see all that change.

"It's been a frustrating year for the team so far," Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon pilot Mark Winterbottom said.

"I started off the season with some strong results and Richo was up there too … but recently we have both struggled at one time or another leaving the other to fly the FPR flag alone.

"This weekend we really want to see both our cars back at the pointy end of the field … we're confident we're over the problems that have been hampering our progress and as Winton is our test circuit we should be able to achieve that," he added.

The FPR Falcons of Mark Winterbottom and Steve Richards - as well as The Bottle-O Race Team car of Paul Dumbrell, which is also run by FPR - are the only Fords to use Winton as their home test circuit.

"Queensland's DNF (after a start line crash) set me back in the championship stakes but if we can put together two solid race results we should be able claw our way back pretty quickly," Winterbottom said.

Mark Winterbottom's Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon has been repaired from its accident at Queensland Raceway and is a certain starter for the Winton event.

Frosty has brilliant recent form at Winton, having taken pole position in 2008 as well as for the Saturday race last year - in fact, he hasn't qualified outside the top four the last four times he's qualified a car at Winton but will be searching for his breakthrough win this weekend.

Back in play this weekend will be the Dunlop SP Sport Maxx 'Sprint' tyre and, again, all cars will have five sets each to qualify and race on over the weekend, rather than the single set used last year across the two races.

Dunlop Super Dealer FPR Falcon racer Steve Richards enjoys racing on the 'sprint' tyre and will be looking to improve on his strong finish in Queensland last week, where he scored a ninth-place finish in the final race.

"We have to keep the momentum going from last weekend," Richo said.

"It was a tough weekend, and there was definitely a home-ground advantage with regards to setting up the car on the soft tyre because the circuit really had changed in the 12-months since we were last there … but by the close of the weekend we were definitely on the money in terms of pace," he added.

"I think that's why the DJR Falcons enjoyed the speed they did - they had a far better understanding of how to manage the circuit on a soft tyre … hopefully it's our turn this week," Richo said.

"Naturally the new tyre and format will again have drivers and teams thinking long and hard about their race strategies and car setups, as they will differ greatly from last year … but knowing the track like we do, should give us a good start to the weekend."

While he may be back in the championship points, Richards is one of the most experienced drivers at Winton with 11 championship event starts there.

Last year Richo finished on the podium on Saturday and was sixth on points for the weekend, however he's still looking to improve on his best-ever qualifying at Winton of fourth - which came in his first-ever visit to the circuit in a V8 Supercar back in 1997 with Garry Rogers Motorsport.

The third round of the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series will be the main support at Winton, with Norton 360 Ford Rising Stars Racing driver James Moffat and his FPR-prepared Falcon looking to move back up the leader board after a disastrous run a fortnight ago in Queensland.

Moffat sits fifth in the championship, but is only 39 points away from third-placed Kiwi Ant Pedersen.

-source: fpr

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Mark Winterbottom , Paul Dumbrell , Steve Richards , Ant Pedersen