Gold Coast's Concrete Canyon Claims FPR Falcons
Lap 1 incident ruins all three FPR cars race
After a blistering qualifying performance earlier today, all three of Ford Performance Racing’s (FPR) Falcons fell victim to the unforgiving concrete walls of the Surfers Paradise circuit on the opening lap of this afternoon’s 300 kilometre race.
After making a great start, #5 Orrcon Steel FPR racer Luke Youlden was squeezed close to the wall in a duel with Warren Luff, who in turn was being challenged by the #55 Bottle-O Racing entry being piloted by French Canadian import Jacques Villeneuve.
Unaware Villeneuve had passed Luff on the outside, Youlden squeezed through on the inside but was tagged by the ex-Formula One World Champion who was also oblivious to Youlden’s presence inside Luff.
The resulting crash with the concrete caused a chain of events that in the end also claimed the scalp of Will Power in the #6 Dunlop Super Dealer FPR Falcon.
Power’s race was ended there and then, with Youlden limping back to the pits for a new front-left upright sending the Orrcon Steel Falcon six laps down on the leaders.
Villeneuve was able to continue but eventually the resulting damage also cost the Bottle-O entry valuable time in the pits while running repairs were carried out.
It was a sad end to FPR’s day, with all three FPR Falcons making this morning’s Top Ten shootout and showing plenty of promise for this weekend’s first race.
“It’s fairly devastating,” Orrcon Steel FPR racer Mark Winterbottom said.
“The car was a great package going into this race … we had plenty of pace and would have easily finished on the podium had we stayed out of trouble.”
“There were only three things that were going to stop us today … bad weather, lapped traffic or someone else’s carnage … unfortunately it was us in the middle of the carnage.”
Luke Youlden was also understandably upset with today’s result.
“Three into one doesn’t go and unfortunately I was one of the three,” Youlden said.
“It’s a real blow because the car was so good … even after the accident with everything out of kilter I was able to post fastest sector times … but eventually with a wheel alignment issue we had to ease up and just nurse it home.”
The #6 FPR Falcon of Steve Richards and Will Power came off worst in the opening fight, failing to complete a lap after suffering engine damage – the result of being hit several times from all angles.
“The boys will be busy tonight,” Richo quipped.
“I’m a bit shattered … the car has been strong all weekend but she’s going to need a lot of work tonight to bring her back to match fitness,” he added.
“I feel for Will because he was an innocent party in all of this.
We’ll get the car back into shape and press the reset button and take off from where we left off in qualifying this morning.”
The on-track action continues tomorrow with qualifying for race two at 11.00am, followed by race two at 1.35pm. (All times Queensland time).