V8 SUPERCAR CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES - RACE 8
ITM400 HAMILTON, HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND
Sunday 18 April 2010
This weekend's journey to New Zealand wasn't much fun for Ford Performance Racing (FPR), with Mark Winterbottom and Steve Richards finishing the final race today in 14th and 15th places respectively.
Winterbottom, who qualified tenth for today's 200km race, suffered at the hands of a poor pit stop and continued lack of rear grip - a problem that has plagued the Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon driver all weekend.
"It's a weekend I'd rather forget," Winterbottom mused.
"I'm still not really sure what the problem was with the car but certainly we weren't fast enough in race trim.
"To be a good second off the pace isn't normal ... we've always had speed at this circuit so to find ourselves with a lack of it this weekend is a bit bewildering," he added.
"Campbell and I will sit down this week and give the data a good going over to pin-point where and how we were losing so much time so we can get the car right again for Queensland."
One positive Frosty can take out of today's events is that he reclaims his second place in the V8 Supercar Championship from James Courtney who held the runner-up position overnight after his strong performance yesterday.
Winterbottom now sits on 873 points – 198 off championship leader, and today's eventually race winner, Jamie Whincup.
Steve Richards and his Dunlop Super Dealer FPR Falcon fared a little better today after a disastrous start which began with a difficult qualifying session and continued into the start of the race – when he was spun around on the opening lap and subsequently relegated to last place.
Richards fought valiantly, and with two trouble free pit stops was able to climb 14 places up the grid to finish in a respectable 15th place - ten places better than his original qualifying position.
"The car was a lot better today but there's still a long way to go if we want to be running at the front," Richo said.
"We were on the pace last year at Queensland so hopefully we can iron out the problems that held us back this weekend and give our fans something to cheer about in a fortnight."