Ford Performance Racing duo David Reynolds and Dean Canto have ended the day on top of the timesheets after Reynolds set the fastest lap in final practice on a day dominated by passing showers.
The Bottle-O pair overcame an early wet track with Reynolds setting the fastest time of the day in the final minutes of the final session.
Will Davison and John McIntyre were only 0.04s behind in third despite a mid-session drama for McIntyre when he was hit hard in the passenger side by Alexandre Premat at the Dandenong Rd section of the track.
Despite significant damage the team made temporary repairs which allowed Davison to return to the track and set the third-best time.
Mark Winterbottom was sixth and in yet another close session was only 0.18s back.
Rain substantially disrupted running in the final two sessions which were also punctuated by red flag periods.
Mark Winterbottom & Steven Richards – #5 Orrcon Steel FPR Ford:
Practice 1: 1m10.69s – 1st (Winterbottom)
Practice 2: 1m11.35s – 5th (Richards)
Practice 3: 1m10.76s – 6th (Winterbottom)
“I am happy. The car feels pretty good and while we didn’t get in a lap during the dying minutes when everyone else set their best time we had a great day. The car is responding to all the changes we make, both drivers are comfortable and I think tomorrow we will be capable of challenging for pole which is the main thing. Sometimes you go away needing a lot of changes made but I reckon we won’t need to do too much before tomorrow.”
Will Davison & John McIntyre – #6 Tradingpost FPR Ford:
Practice 1: 1m10.77s – 6th (Davison)
Practice 2: 1m11.78s – 15th (McIntyre)
Practice 3: 1m10.62s – 3rd (Davison)
“We didn’t quite get through the program due to the weather as it played games with the entire field today. The important thing was the car rolled out fast and even on full tank runs the car was strong in race trim and we were at the pointy end. John had a good amount of laps though unfortunately he got t-boned pretty heavily by (Alexandre) Premat which caused a lot of drama. That set us back but the crew did a quick fix and I got out and the end to set a quick time. We will tidy things up overnight but we are doing it pretty well and we will be in the mix.”
David Reynolds & Dean Canto – #55 The Bottle-O FPR Ford:
Practice 1: 1m10.75s – 3rd (Reynolds)
Practice 2: 1m11.32s – 3rd (Canto)
Practice 3: 1m10.58s – 1st (Reynolds)
“It has been a pleasant day today and I am quite happy with where the car is at. The tyres we used at the end were quite old but the car was getting quicker as the track evolved. My best lap wasn’t issue-free, though I am pretty sure everyone will have the same excuse. I did have a flat-spot on one tyre which meant I had a lot of vibration but to come up quickest is awesome. Dean is not far off my times and he is in the top few co-drivers so I think we are going to have a good weekend.”
Tim Edwards – FPR Team Principal:
“Today was a typical Sandown day with rain and varying weather again playing a factor. While it did slightly disrupt the day we are happy with where we ended up as although it was close we had all three cars at the pointy end and can now work towards qualifying and the qualifying races knowing we have strong pace.”
EVENT NAME: Sandown
DATE: 14 – 16 September
LOCATION: Melbourne, Victoria
FORMAT: Friday – 3 x 40minute practice sessions; Saturday – 1 x 40min practice, 1 x 20min qualifying, 2 x 20-lap qualifying races; Sunday – 1 x 20min warm-up, 1 x 161-lap race
CIRCUIT: Sandown International Raceway
DESCRIPTION: Sandown is a fast and flowing circuit with long front and back straights peppered with tight right-angled corners. Particularly challenging is the tricky high-speed, downhill section marking the end of the back straight. The track can be treacherous in the wet and very exciting in the dry. Good spectator viewing areas are abundant. The circuit has regained its endurance status in 2012 with the return of the Sandown 500.
TRACK RECORD: 1m09.66s – Jamie Whincup, 2009 (qualifying)
FPR BEST RESULT IN SANDOWN 500: 1st – Jason Bright/Mark Winterbottom, 2006