Ford Performance Racing (FPR) spent the day testing at Queensland Raceway to provide its three international co-drivers with time to adapt to driving and in one case, learn how to drive the team's FPR Falcon FG V8 Supercars.
Northern Irishman Richard Lyons, Finn Mika Salo and Austrian Christian Klien all covered a large number of laps at the Ipswich track, with Klien sampling V8 machinery for the first time.
Lyons, who only flew into the country yesterday as a late replacement for Will Power, was quickly on the pace and felt comfortable with his progress.
Salo quickly got into the groove after a one-year absence from the sport and Klien used his experience to learn the nuances of driving a car so foreign to what he usually races.
The team's regular drivers Mark Winterbottom, Will Davison and Paul Dumbrell were also on hand to help their foreign team-mates acclimatise.
Mark Winterbottom & Richard Lyons – #5 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon
Best Lap: 1m10.84s - 5th
"Richard was really quick, did some long runs and got to feel how the soft tyre degrades - overall he was very consistent. He has very good feedback and that has helped our direction. It has been enjoyable working with him so hopefully the changes we've made today transfer to Surfers Paradise along with the things we are doing to improve our soft tyre life. I think we made good progress today so now we just have to keep gaining across the weekend."
"It has been a fantastic day and everything has been very smooth. Luckily we've had good weather and the car has run faultlessly so I've been able to do a lot of laps. I felt comfortable early so we haven't had to change too much. The car feels better than I ever expected it would and is great to drive, though I just hope we keep this momentum going across the weekend. The car flows easily and is responsive but obviously Surfers Paradise is very different to what we've experienced today. I've been to Surfers for the race every year for the last six or seven years and always wanted to race there so I am excited. It is in a great location, the atmosphere is awesome and to be there with one of the best drivers, in one of the top teams will be brilliant."
Will Davison & Mika Salo – #6 Trading Post FPR Falcon
Best Lap: 1m11.21s - 12th
"It was not a bad day today. It was important to get Mika comfortable and thankfully he seems more comfortable than he was last year and feels the car is easier to drive which is important. He obviously didn't have the best tyres to test on which makes it hard so it would have been great if all the internationals could get some dedicated sets supplied for this test next year. Other than that he fitted in well and is a great guy so it should be a fun weekend. As it was a test we also got to try a few things and I think our car will suit the characteristics of the Surfers Paradise track so it will be interesting to see how we perform this weekend."
"There were a lot of new things to get used to today - the car, the team and really this was my first real test day as last year our test was in the wet, so it was nice to get some testing in the dry at somewhere other than Surfers Paradise. The team is very good and has been very helpful so I think everything will be ok. I really like the track and I have a good car so I am looking forward to the weekend."
Paul Dumbrell & Christian Klien – #55 The Bottle-O FPR Falcon
Best Lap: 1m11.93s - 26th
"Someone with Christian's experience only needs a few laps in the car to get the basic handle on it so he has demonstrated that despite the limited tyres we all have available for this test, he is right on the money. Today is obviously a great chance to discover what our cars can do before we get to Surfers Paradise, though come Friday I am sure he will get a nice surprise with how much grip a new set of soft tyres generates."
"Most of the day was spent getting used to the car as it is my first time driving a touring car. The V8 Supercar is a special car. It is quite heavy but with a lot of power. It was really good fun once I got used to it and I really enjoyed my day and I progressively improved. The engineers were very helpful and made it easier for me to get up to speed so all-in-all it was a good day. I've driven a couple of laps of the track in a road car and it looks fun and should be great in these cars. It is also nice to be driving for the Prodrive family in Australia and everyone has made me feel very comfortable."
Tim Edwards - FPR Team Principal
"Today was a great chance for our internationals to get comfortable in our cars and I must say all three acquitted themselves nicely. Times were irrelevant as we only used worn tyres so I think they will get a nice surprise about how much grip a V8 Supercar generates when they hit the track on Friday. Richard and Mika were quickly on the pace which we expected given their previous experience in V8 Supercars. Christian adapted well to a car very foreign to him and I think he'll pick up a few things once he has a good look at the data.”