FPR IN WINTON TOP SIX AFTER WILD WEEKEND May 20, 2007 - The Ford Performance Racing (FPR) team leaves Victoria's Winton Motor Raceway with thoughts of what may have been for both team drivers Steve Richards and Mark Winterbottom after a highly...
FPR IN WINTON TOP SIX AFTER WILD WEEKEND
May 20, 2007 - The Ford Performance Racing (FPR) team leaves Victoria's Winton Motor Raceway with thoughts of what may have been for both team drivers Steve Richards and Mark Winterbottom after a highly eventful fourth V8 Supercar Championship round held over the weekend.
Richards' results of second in race one, 16th in race two and 12th in race three earned the 34 year old Castrol FPR Falcon driver 6th overall for the round. He is placed 13th in the Championship with 80 points following this round. Winterbottom's results of 26th in race one, 20th in race two and 10th in race three earned the Orrcon Ford Credit FPR Falcon driver 8 points this weekend, taking his season tally to 87 points and 11th in the title standings with ten V8 Supercar rounds remaining. Today marked the talented driver's 26th birthday - but a more rewarding present will need to wait until the series' next round at Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway from June 9 to 11.
Unpredictable wet and dry conditions caught the team out with tyre change strategies during all three 40 lap Winton races, with both the Orrcon Ford Credit FPR Falcon and the Castrol FPR Falcon enjoying long stints at the front of the field in races one and two respectively. Sudden changes in track conditions saw the team opt for tyre decisions that would ultimately prove costly to the team's final results, with the exception of Saturday's opening race which saw Richards finish a close second to Ford driver Jamie Whincup.
Today's third and final race saw Winterbottom make up ten positions to finish 10th (with two tyre change stops) while Richards raced from 16th to 12th (with three tyre change stops), both FPR Falcon drivers coping with traffic that held-up their progress on the twisty three kilometre circuit to gain points earning finishes.
FPR's highlight of the round and an exception to the team's bad luck with its strategic decisions at their home circuit this weekend was Steve Richards' spectacular drive to second place from 17th on the starting grid in Saturday's Winton opener. This marked the 34 year old's first podium result for FPR since joining the team at the start of the 2007 season.
The frequent showers and subsequent dry periods throughout all three Winton races caught-out several competitors over the weekend, with some becoming stranded in the off-field mud and sand traps causing several Safety Car caution periods. Both FPR Falcons displayed strong pace during all three races, excellent reliability and the team's speedy work in the pits also ensured that FPR managed to salvage valuable points on a weekend that did not go to plan.
#6 Steve Richards - "Our cars clearly had the pace here at Winton, we just needed the ball to bounce our way with the weather, but besides our strategy in race one, this didn't happen. We have learned a lot this weekend, we have two great cars in the wet and our car speed in the dry continues to improve with each round, so while the end result wasn't what we wanted or worked hard to achieve, I know that we have better results to look forward to during the ten remaining rounds of the season."
#5 Mark Winterbottom - "A weekend of 'what-ifs' I guess. We had the potential to win this round, but that's how it goes sometimes. Both Steve and I led two races over the weekend and I moved up ten places in the third race with good car pace. We should have been on the podium, so we will make sure that we learn from this round and come back stronger at Eastern Creek next month."
FPR Motorsport Director, Tim Edwards - " The potential was certainly there for a good result this weekend but we were caught out by the weather and ended up on wet tyres when we should have been on dry weather tyres and vice versa. We rolled the dice and hoped that the weather either stayed or changed and it didn't happen as we thought it would. We had fast cars and great pit-stops throughout the weekend, unfortunately we just lacked the end result."