Ford Performance Racing’s (FPR) Mark Winterbottom will leave Abu Dhabi today sitting comfortably in second place in the 2010 V8 Supercar Championship.
Starting the final 200km race from pole positon, Winterbottom was beaten off the line by TeamVodaphone’s Jamie Whincup, and after falling back as far as fifth place, clawed his way back into second place to finish with his second podium for the weekend.
Winterbottom’s strong performance this weekend is a great boost for the Campbellfield powerhouse after the first outing of the new #5 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon.
“It was a pretty promising start to the season … to campaign a new car on a new track and make the gains we did is real credit to the team.
“As a driver I have to probably tune myself a little to the changes but that will come qucikly … if we can continue the progress in Bahrain – which is a circuit that has been good to us in the past – then I think we should be able to come home looking pretty good,” Winterbottom said.
While Winterbottom pretty much had a dream start to his championship chase, his FPR teammate Steve Richards wasn’t so fortunate, struggling to find the right set-up in his #6 Dunlop Super Dealers FPR Falcon at the foreign Yas Marina Circuit.
“It was a tough weekend and although I would have liked to been further up the field, I think we made some great progress with regards to development with the car even if that wasn’t reflected the results.
“I think we’ll see an improvement in Bahrain – I ran solidly in the top ten there last year and with a few changes we should be able to better that this year,” Richards said.
Richards started the second race in 20th position, an after a spin in the opening lap, managed to make gains on rivals to finish in 16th place.
The FPR team now head across the desert to Bahrain for the second round of the 2010 championship which will be held next weekend.