Ford Performance Racing (FPR) has endured the highs and lows of Mount Panorama on race day with Mark Winterbottom and Steve Richards' fourth place the best result from a day filled with the Bathurst 1000's usual drama.
Will Davison started second and was soon in the lead thanks to the strong overall pace of his #6 Tradingpost FPR Falcon.
Despite the threat of rain none of any significance affected the race allowing all 29 starters to use Dunlop's slick throughout.
While Davison built a handy lead team-mate Steve Richards stalled at the start and dropped to 17th, while Dean Canto ran around the top 10 for most of the opening sequence of the race.
Davison pitted with nearly a 10-second lead and handed his factory Falcon to Luke Youlden who rejoined still in top spot.
Richards regained some ground before his stop where he swapped with Mark Winterbottom, while Paul Dumbrell replaced Canto around the same time.
Winterbottom started to charge and was in the top 10 by his next stop where Richards retook the wheel. Similarly Canto took back the #55 The Bottle-O FPR Falcon from Dumbrell.
A Safety Car was deployed shortly afterwards and on the restart Youlden, now in second place, ran wide at the final turn, beaching his car in the gravel trap and crucially losing a lap on the field while it was recovered.
While the car only sustained minor damage Youlden was stuck a lap down in the midfield which began a near race-long effort to regain the lost ground.
Richards and Canto pushed well inside the top 10 before another driver swap for both with Winterbottom jumping to third and Dumbrell was not far behind.
The pair handed their cars back once more and after their final run Richards had placed the #5 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon third and Canto handed his car to Dumbrell in fourth.
Davison was now back behind the wheel and the team had employed a strategy it hoped would lead it back to the front-running lap.
After another restart Dumbrell dropped a place when he ran wide at The Chase though he stopped shortly afterwards along with third-placed Winterbottom.
Drama then ensued as series leader Jamie Whincup brought out a Safety Car when his car slowed and then stopped on track. He got the car going again only to encounter Winterbottom, Dumbrell and a large pack, none of which could pass due to Safety Car rules.
When Whincup slowed again the pack passed him though all lost significant ground on key rivals who were ahead of the delayed car.
Winterbottom found himself sixth rather than third and Dumbrell was now 10th rather than fifth.
Their delay actually assisted Davison who was now back on the lead lap, albeit with less than one quarter of the race to run.
Dumbrell's promising run ended after 144 laps after he was first delayed by oil from Rick Kelly's car before being punted into the wall at Forrest's Elbow by Shane van Gisbergen.
Winterbottom battled hard to get back to the podium though a tough battle with former team-mate Jason Bright meant fourth was the best he could achieve.
Davison eventually recovered to 18th in a frustrating end to the team's promising weekend at The Mountain.
Mark Winterbottom & Steve Richards- #5 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon
Race Result: 4th
Fastest Lap: 2m09.72s
"I was in a good rhythm until we were delayed by Whincup and then oil on the track affected a lot of us and also meant passing was really tough there for a while. We also had a little bit of oversteer so a little more grip would've helped but fourth from where we were is a pretty good result considering the setbacks we had. We'll come back next year and try to win it again."
"I thought the start was going to be tough when I headed to the grid as I had so much rear grip. The car actually stalled though I jump-started it off the clutch so I was lucky to get it going. The first stint was a bit of a handful but after that we managed to pull it back. On the day we were good enough for the podium and while you can always improve circumstances just didn't go our way. As I said to a few of the people in the team - the week we've had, the preparation and effort that we have all put in was as good as it could have been. Bathurst is one of those places where anything can happen and today it meant we just missed out."
Will Davison & Luke Youlden – #6 Trading Post FPR Falcon
Race Result: 18th
Fastest Lap: 2m09.85s
"I'm not really sure how to describe today. The start was great and once we hit the lead we took off. I just enjoyed having a clear track and a great car. The team should be commended for building such a rocket. Obviously Luke's mistake was incredibly costly but Bathurst punishes mistakes, though we win and lose as a team so life moves on. After that it was a struggle as we had to deal with being a lap down and lots of slower traffic which were technically ahead of us. Despite the damage from the accident our car was still one of the fastest on the track when we had clean air. That's the really frustrating thing as we only get one shot a year here and sadly we missed out when we had the machinery to win the race."
"The disappointing thing is that the car had great speed today and we were doing it easy early in the race. Then The Mountain bit me. I really have no idea what happened. I didn't brake any deeper than normal on the restart but the inside-left locked and that was it. I am really disappointed for the team and the Trading Post guys that were here supporting us. The car was quick and Will did an awesome job. That was my first major error here in more than a decade and unfortunately is cost us dearly."
Paul Dumbrell & Dean Canto – #55 The Bottle-O FPR Falcon
Race Result: DNF
Fastest Lap: 2m09.80s
"We were strong and had good car speed. We worked our way from 11th and really good strategy which kept us out of trouble and utilised the obvious speed we had. We kept moving forward and then it all turned sour quickly. Firstly we were one of the cars caught up behind Whincup which delayed us on the restart, then we were affected by oil from Rick Kelly's car which made it tough. The final nail came when Shane van Gisbergen punted us off which also caused the throttle to stick due to the damage from the accident. It was a disaster at the end considering Frosty and I looked on course for potentially a podium finish. But that's Bathurst."
"This was Paul and my 13thstart each in this race and while we know it can be a cruel place, today was a bitter pill to swallow. Through no fault of our own we didn't finish which is really unfortunate as we had the pace to be in the top five or even potentially the podium. I was happy with the car, had some good stints and we both drove faultlessly. Today was just one of those things that happens."
Tim Edwards - FPR Team Principal
"Today Bathurst certainly gave our team the full range of emotions. Will's pace once he took the lead was remarkable and he didn't disappoint. Luke's error was simple yet costly and while he and Will eventually recovered to the lead lap it was too late to gain the result their pace and effort this weekend deserved. Frosty and Richo did well to bounce back from their startline delay and were on for a podium until they were hampered by Whincup, though they must be commended on their efforts. Paul and Dean had an unfortunate end after doing nearly everything right. Their retirement was no fault of their own. While fourth is a good result we wanted to win and had the pace and strategy to do just that, luck was just not on our side. Everyone knows you need speed and luck here - disappointingly we had one and not the other. The team did everything right, our pit stops were in my opinion the best in the field and while our efforts didn't gain the result they deserved, we will be back better next year where with some luck we can gain the win which has so far eluded us."
1) Garth Tander/Nick Percat - HRT
2) Craig Lowndes/Mark Skaife - Triple Eight
3) Greg Murphy/Allan Simonsen - Kelly Racing
4) Mark Winterbottom/Steve Richards - Ford Performance Racing
5) Jason Bright/Andrew Jones - Brad Jones Racing
18) Will Davison/Luke Youlden - Ford Performance Racing
DNF) Paul Dumbrell/Dean Canto - Ford Performance Racing
2011 V8 SUPERCAR CHAMPIONSHIP
SERIES POINTS AFTER EVENT 10 OF 14:
1) Craig Lowndes - Triple Eight: 2329 points
2) Jamie Whincup - Triple Eight: 2229
3) Shane van Gisbergen - Stone Brothers Racing: 1920
4) Garth Tander - HRT: 1848
5) Mark Winterbottom - Ford Performance Racing: 1687
7) Will Davison - Ford Performance Racing: 1646
23) Paul Dumbrell - Ford Performance Racing: 952
2011 V8 SUPERCAR CHAMPIONSHIP
TEAM POINTS AFTER EVENT 10 OF 14:
1) Triple Eight: 4583 points
2) Stone Brothers Racing: 3418
3) Ford Performance Racing: 3358