Practice 2: FPR still pushing to improve qualifying pace
Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
By V8 Supercars
Ford Performance Racing has made no secret about its need to qualify up the front.
With an ARMOR ALL Pole Position drought stretching back to Phillip Island last year, Mark Winterbottom believes better qualifying is key to maintaining the Championship lead.
The hunter -Red Bull -is looking for more soft tyre pace.
And meanwhile, it's Winterbottom's former teammate Will Davison at the top of the second session at the Coates Hire Ipswich 400, showing his Erebus Mercedes could be in for another podium finish.
Davison's 1min09.925 time was just 0.16sec and 0.17sec quicker than Winterbottom and Pepsi Max teammate Chaz Mostert- interesting, given they filled the top three positions at the last race at Queensland Raceway last year.
"Everyone's trying to find weaknesses and improve them," Winterbottom told v8supercars.com.au.
"It's good to know what your weaknesses are, but it's also good if you can start to make inroads on it, so it's interesting.
"If we can qualify well going into the race, knowing you've got good race cars is really good because the soft tyre does go off quite a bit here, so if we can qualify well we'll have a pretty good race car.
"Seems to be working ok so far. Time will tell, we don't get excited over one session, but seem to be going in the right direction, which is quite nice... it's goodto be a bit more competitive, in practice anyway.
"We're working on our practice setup and most people ran good tyres then so it's a good indication of where you're at in qualy. We know race pace is good. Good session."
Davison said after the first session the key was staying on top of changing conditions at the circuit -and they have changed again, with wind affecting the performance of the cars.
"The wind's horrible. It's really strong, the car's moving down the straight because the car's pushing it.
"It's pretty bad out there, but that can change tomorrow and completely change the car - you think you're competitive and the wind changes and you're instantly starting again.
"Hard conditions, but it's good if you can be good in spots where it shouldn't be good in those conditions."
Following Mostert, Shane van Gisbergen, Russell Ingall, Robert Dahlgren, Nick Percat, James Moffat, James Courtney and Lee Holdsworth completed the top 10, given all five manufacturers a showing.
Others to note include Jamie Whincup 12, Craig Lowndes 14, Scott McLaughlin 15, Fabian Coulthard 17 and Garth Tander 24.