All three Ford Performance Racing drivers sit outside of the Gillette V8 Supercar top ten after a highly competitive Surfers Paradise qualifying session held in cloudy and humid weather conditions on Australia's Gold Coast.

The session was not conducted in the usual top and lower 50 per cent groups due to the impending threat of rain during the afternoon, which prompted race officials decide to combine both groups into one 30-minute session. It was interrupted by just one red flag stoppage but, despite heavy cloud cover, the circuit remained dry.

Glenn Seton 's Ford Credit FPR Falcon was the fastest of the three FPR Falcons on the demanding street circuit on a day where Holden largely held the upper hand, but the veteran's last minute flying lap of 1min 52.1323secs earned him only 14th spot on Saturday's race one starting grid.

"We made some significant changes from second practice to qualifying, as I was struggling for pace early on," the 38-year old double champion revealed, "The set-up direction we took was similar to the changes we made at Bathurst and the car responded.

"I was on my fastest lap on when [Jamie] Whincup crashed, and I think we had a chance of breaking into the ten until the red flags came out. Fourteenth is not what I
wanted - but it is much better than where I was last year."

Team-mate David Besnard has qualified 17th, placing the Gold Coast-based driver between his team-mates after a solid drive, despite some high speed handling problems.

"We improved the car from second practice, but we are still struggling in high speed stability through the chicanes and with change of direction," the FPV-backed driver noted, "However, we are moving in the right direction. That was all I could get out of the car today."

For Craig Lowndes' CAT-sponsored Falcon, any chance of a top ten starting position vanished when he clipped a tyrewall early in the session, bending his steering and making it tough going for the remainder of qualifying. The triple champion qualified 19th.

"I hit a bundle of tyres on lap one, bent the steering and basically wrecked any chance of qualifying in the top ten in one fell swoop," Lowndes', who shared second place at Bathurst with Seton two weeks ago, admitted, "The guys tried to re-adjust it and improved it a bit, but I struggled with turn in. So its basically driver error that places us 19th.

"The car was pretty good and I'd like to think that we would have made the lower part of the top ten. We'll concentrate on a good race set-up for tomorrow."

The fastest lap in qualifying was HRT driver Mark Skaife's 1min 50.8954secs, which placed the reigning V8 champion ahead of Ford driver Max Wilson and Holden's Jason Bright.

"It was a thoroughly disappointing session, but Glenn put in a solid lap to gain 14th in the session's dying moments," commented chief engineer John Russell, "David did the best he could and Craig was unfortunate, impacting a tyrewall early in the session which compromised his qualifying.

"The reality, however, is that we are not in the best place with our engines and its showing here big time. We'll race the best we can tomorrow and hope that it follows through on Sunday."

 

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