Ford Performance Racing (FPR) endured a tough first race at the Hamilton 400 this afternoon, with both FPR Falcons suffering the effects of the challenging street circuit.
Mark Winterbottom and his Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon fared best finishing the race in seventh place, while his Dunlop Super Dealer FPR Falcon teammate Steve Richards limped home in 24 position.
Both drivers made a great start to the 200km event and were making ground with a solid pit strategy in place, but it wasn't long before the gremlins started to surface in the FPR Falcons.
Throughout the race Winterbottom struggled with rear-grip and balance issues through the high speed sectors, severely hampering his efforts to move further up the field.
"The car was only good for seventh today," a dejected Winterbottom said.
"It all started this morning during the shoot out and didn't get much better from there ... we've got a lot of work to do tonight but we're confident we can get the car back to its best and be competitive again tomorrow," he added.
Winterbottom's chief engineer Campbell Little was also perplexed as to the problems that robbed Frosty of the speed he needed today.
"At this point in time I'm not really sure what's holding us back ... to be a second off the fastest lap and three-tenths down each and every lap isn't good enough," Little said.
"I don't know if it's under braking we're losing time or whether it's something else ... I'll have to sit down with Mark and go through the data with him to isolate it ... once we do there's no doubt we'll be able to get it right and have a strong outing for qualifying tomorrow."
Steve Richards' problems were far more evident with the two-times Bathurst winner spearing through the back-straight chicane on lap 25 when his right steering arm bent after one too many kerb bumps.
"She was a wild ride there for a minute," Richo said.
"I must of clipped something pretty hard but from the driver's seat it wasn't really obvious until she let go on the approach to the chicane," he said.
"Like Mark our dramas started in qualifying ... I couldn't get a clean lap and then due to the red flags - and when I did have a clear run – I didn't have enough heat in them (tyres) to make an impact.
"Overall it was pretty disappointing because the car was feeling good albeit for a lack of rear-grip ... our pit strategy during the race was playing out well, but after spending four laps sitting in the garage to put a new steering arm in, it was all over.
"We'll sort out a few things tonight and get the car back to where she was yesterday and hit qualifying tomorrow in better shape than today," Richo added.