2010 V8 SUPERCAR CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES - RACES 13 & 14
HIDDEN VALLEY RACEWAY, DARWIN, NT.
Date: June 18-20, 2010
Circuit: Hidden Valley Raceway
Race Format: 1 x 200-kilometre race with compulsory soft 'sprint' tyre
On the back of their first win of the season yesterday, Ford Performance Racing (FPR) today sent a signal up pitlane that they are still a force to be reckoned with, after the FPR Falcons of Mark Winterbottom and Steve Richards finished second and tenth respectively in this afternoon's 200km thriller at Hidden Valley in Darwin.
With a variety of strategy options on the table thanks to the re-introduction of the Dunlop SP Sport Maxx 'sprint' tyre, the brains trust at FPR elected to start both Falcons off on the harder compound 'control' tyre - a choice that was in direct contrast to their opposition who believed a better tactic would be to open the race on the softer 'sprint' rubber.
FPR's call was the right one, with Frosty storming home in the closing stages with only a lack of race laps beating him (oh, and another bloke called Jamie Whincup) to a second win for the weekend.
"An awesome weekend!" Frosty exclaimed.
"It would have been great to seal another win but the real benefit we can take from this weekend is that again we're pointing in the right direction," he added.
"Darwin was always going to be a make or break weekend for us in terms of getting the car to a point where we could roll it out of the truck and make minimal changes to bring it up to speed ... we achieved that with the added bonus of being able to get it right when thrown a variety of new challenges such as soft tyre set-up and management in a high temperature environment.
After qualifying in third fastest, Winterbottom quickly fell down the order in the opening laps as the likes of Whincup, James Courtney and Alex Davison sprinted away on their soft rubber.
Disheartening to the uneducated, Frosty knew he'd be able to peg them back in the later stages when it was his turn to strap on the quicker, high-grip 'sprint' tyre.
"I think I fell back to tenth place after as many laps so I was nervous for a moment thinking we may have gambled on the wrong choice of tyre ... but when you've got the likes of Campbell Little in your corner you know things will turn around pretty quickly ... which they did.
"In the final stint I was about 23 seconds off Jamie's lead with around 17 laps to go so I knew I really had to punch out some good laps ... add to that the task of passing the traffic between us, taking another win was going to be a bit of a pipedream but we'd managed to make some serious ground but unfortunately we just ran out of time," Frosty said.
"Looking forward to the Townsville event we now know a lot more about the car and how it behaves so we should be able to carry the momentum we now have and give our fans another few reasons to celebrate," he concluded.
Dunlop Super Dealer FPR Falcon racer Steve Richards also finished his weekend on a high note after suffering at the hands of a technical hitch yesterday.
Starting the final race from 21st position, Richo ran the same strategy as his teammate and enjoyed the same dividends, eventually crossing the finish line in tenth place.
"Overall, this was a pretty tough weekend for me," Richo said.
"To finish in the top ten today though provides some redemption for yesterday but obviously it would have been a nice way to start the weekend as well," he added.
Richo posted the second fastest lap time of the race, illustrating that his Dunlop Super Dealer FPR Falcon is no slouch in race trim.
"The race pace we had today was really good ... for most of the race we were running lap times comparable to the front runners but starting down the grid was always going to make things harder than necessary.
"There's plenty of promise though after today so we'll carry that into Townsville and hope to go a few better."