Ford Performance Racing heads to Darwin full of confidence after its record-breaking start to the year.
A team record nine wins ensures the team is in good spirits heading to one of its favourite venues on the calendar.
All three drivers enjoyed a well-earned break with Championship leader Will Davison heading to the Indy 500 in the month since the last race at Phillip Island.
Mark Winterbottom has the best qualifying average of any driver in Darwin at an impressive 3.8.
Davison has won more than half of the championship races run this season meaning in the last six months he has doubled his six-year career win tally
David Reynolds is keeping the chassis he borrowed from FPR Development Series driver Chaz Mostert at Phillip Island, the same chassis Davison raced in Darwin in 2011.
Reynolds secured career-best qualifying in the car at Phillip Island and is keen to keep the momentum which made him a podium contender in both races.
Mark Winterbottom – #5 Orrcon Steel FPR Ford:
"Darwin has always been really good to me. I've always had really good form at Hidden Valley, especially in qualifying for some reason, so hopefully it continues to be kind. It is a completely different feeling to go there in form rather than trying to turn the season around as we have in previous years. It makes our trip north all the more enjoyable. It is one of my favourite rounds of the year because of the weather and the atmosphere - the locals really embrace the event. It is a tight championship battle and scoring big points in these next few rounds is vital."
Will Davison – #6 Tradingpost FPR Ford:
"It has been a big break so I am very excited to get back into the car. I headed to America to watch the Indy 500 so I am feeling fresh, recharged and ready for Darwin. We all love heading up there as the weather is great, the people are friendly and the circuit is really fun to drive. However, it is really challenging so it will be a tough battle to hold onto the lead but I am looking forward to it. There is a long way to go in the season still and we really need to minimise our mistakes in every area at every event to ensure we stay in the hunt. How we manage the soft tyres will be crucial and qualifying will be important as will smart strategy. We have quick cars so I am confident we can be part of some great racing this weekend."
David Reynolds – #55 The Bottle-O FPR Ford:
"I've always enjoyed driving at Hidden Valley no matter what category I am in and FPR always go well there so I think I am in for a good weekend. The new chassis is a keeper so sorry to Chaz but it felt nicer to drive at Phillip Island so I don't want to change that and go backwards. The soft tyres will be interesting as I think it will be a real battle to use them and get the most from them across the weekend. We've had some good meetings on how to tackle strategy so I am sure we will have a strong weekend."
Tim Edwards - FPR Team Principal:
"The team has made the most of the few weeks we've had in between races and everyone is refreshed and ready for the unique challenge of Darwin. As a place it is among our favourite stops as it gives everyone a welcome break from winter, though as a track it is one of the more challenging due to the extreme temperatures and low-grip surface."
EVENT NAME: SKYCITY Triple Crown
DATE: 15 - 17 June
LOCATION: Darwin, Northern Territory
EVENT NUMBER: 6 of 15
FORMAT: Friday - 4 x 30-minute practice sessions; Saturday - 1 x 20-min qualifying, 1 x Top 10 Shootout, 1 x 42-lap race; Sunday - 1 x 20-min qualifying, 1 x 69-lap race
CIRCUIT: Hidden Valley
DESCRIPTION: It is a very fast circuit with the longest straight in the series, taking up 1.1 of the circuit's 2.9 km length. The actual circuit is not considered overly difficult for the drivers, but the tropical heat - even in mid-winter, makes this without a doubt one of the toughest races on the calendar. The venue has produced some excellent races in the past and the Northern Territory fans are always out in force for this major event.
TRACK RECORD: 1m07.85s - Jason Bright, 2002 (qualifying)
FPR BEST RESULT: 1st - Mark Winterbottom, 2008 & 2010