Ford Performance Racing's Mark Winterbottom has claimed a closely-fought second place behind Ipswich favourite Craig Lowndes to complete FPR's turnaround in form.
Winterbottom was always less-than three seconds behind the eventual race winner and ultimately finished 1.7s back nearly a year since the team struggled at the rear of the field in the same race.
Will Davison ran an alternate strategy which saw him switch to softs on lap three and despite recovering ground throughout the race he could only manage sixth.
David Reynolds was unluckily punted off the track at turn one on the second lap and despite getting out of the sand trap he had to settle for 22nd at the chequered flag.
In qualifying Winterbottom and Davison went closest to topping their local rivals claiming third and fourth in a tight session.
The duo chipped away at the ultimate lap time and were eventually able to lockout the second row. Reynolds was down on his usual top four effort due to being unwell though still managed seventh.
Mark Winterbottom – #5 Orrcon Steel FPR Ford
Practice 4: 8th - 1m09.77s
Qualifying: 3rd - 1m09.50s
Race result: 2nd - Best lap: 1m10.66s
"Full credit to everyone that works on our cars. We came back here after having our worst round last season and while we didn't necessarily get the ultimate result we were a lot closer than we could even wish for last year. I was probably a little cautious early and could've pushed harder but I was unsure how strong we'd be at the end. The car was better than the result we had so that gives me good hope for tomorrow now we know how it will handle late in the stints. Second is a great result for us at this track."
Will Davison – #6 Tradingpost FPR Ford
Practice 4: 3rd - 1m09.61s
Qualifying: 4th - 1m09.56s
Race result: 6th - Best lap: 1m10.67s
"I am relieved that we have come here and shown that our car can work at this track and be so consistent. Today was not the result I wanted and we took a punt on a different strategy and lost a bit of time in the stop so things didn't quite pan out as planned. We fought back and salvaged some points and used our speed. We will come back tomorrow and with a bit of luck we can be up there fighting for the win with Frosty."
David Reynolds – #55 The Bottle-O FPR Ford
Practice 4: 10th - 1m09.82s
Qualifying: 7th - 1m09.71s
Race result: 22nd - Best lap: 1m10.43s
"I got a reasonable start and my first lap was quite interesting as I was bashed from pillar to post by a variety of idiots. I got turned around on the second lap at turn one and that was my race. We played catch up from there but there wasn't a lot I could do. It was a case of trying to sore like an eagle but we were stuck with turkeys."
Tim Edwards - FPR Team Principal
"What a difference a year makes. As a team we have wanted to come to Ipswich and fight for the win and while we fell short our performance versus 12 months ago is the real indicator of how far we've come. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves as there is another race to come but Mark delivered the result we knew was possible. Will's strategy was not a bad one, it just didn't quite work as planned. David didn't get the chance to show the pace we all know he has so I'm sure they'll both bounce back tomorrow."
IPSWICH 300 - RACE 1
1) Craig Lowndes - Triple Eight
2) Mark Winterbottom - Ford Performance Racing
3) Jamie Whincup - Triple Eight
4) Fabian Coulthard - Brad Jones Racing
5) Russell Ingall - Walkinshaw Racing
6) Will Davison - Ford Performance Racing
22) David Reynolds - Ford Performance Racing
1) Jamie Whincup - Triple Eight: 1923 points
2) Mark Winterbottom - Ford Performance Racing: 1832
3) Will Davison - Ford Performance Racing: 1756
4) Craig Lowndes - Triple 8: 1646
5) Shane van Gisbergen - Stone Brothers Racing: 1376
10) David Reynolds - Ford Performance Racing: 990
1) Triple Eight: 3594 points
2) Ford Performance Racing: 3588
3) Stone Brothers Racing: 2593
CHAZ GRABS HIS SLICE OF THE PYE
DUNLOP SERIES - RACE 1 RESULTS
FPR's Chaz Mostert bided his time to claim a last lap race win in the first of three Dunlop Series races when he beat home Scott Pye. Mostert qualified third but a rapid start put him second by the first turn. He then sat behind Pye for the majority of the 15-lap race waiting for a chance to pass. He got alongside his rival out of the final turn on the penultimate lap and completed the pass into turn one to take a morale-boosting win.
Chaz Mostert – #56 FPR Ford
"That was a great race and I am very happy to win in my home state and after such a great battle. We predicted last night that if we qualified well we would be in with a shot at the win and so it proved. The start was great and I was able to hold onto Scott (Pye) for much of the race and just wait for the moment. It couldn't come any later than the last lap but we did what we needed to do and I am really happy to win again."
1) Chaz Mostert - Ford Performance Racing
2) Scott Pye - Triple Eight
3) Scott McLaughlIn - Fujitsu Racing