Ambrose finishes third at Pukekohe -- no luck for Besnard.

Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose finished third in the opening race of the Boost Mobile V8 International at the Pukekohe Raceway near Auckland in New Zealand today.

Ambrose started from fourth position in his Pirtek Falcon after dropping a couple of places in the morning shootout and drove a solid race to give himself enough points to move back into fifth position in the V8 Supercar Championship.

He finished third behind championship leader Mark Skaife and local Kiwi favourite and defending champion Greg Murphy.

Ambrose's cause was helped with a lightning 7.8-second compulsory pit stop for tyres on lap 12.

"The boys gave me a fantastic pit stop we went on and did the job today," said Ambrose.

"We needed a good result here today to get us back on a roll and hopefully we can continue on tomorrow and give Ross and Jimmy Stone a win in there home town.

"It will be a little different tomorrow with longer races, but we just need to make sure we stay out of trouble."

Ambrose's SBR teammate David Besnard went within two 10ths of a second of claiming his first V8 Supercar pole position in this morning's shootout.

Besnard had his Caltex Havoline Ford sideways to produce a blistering lap of 57.4253 seconds after qualifying in provisional fifth position yesterday.

The 25 year-old held on to pole until championship leader and the last remaining driver, Skaife, hit the track.

It was a great start to the day for Besnard, but unfortunately the good fortune did not continue.

Besnard slotted into second place off the start behind Skaife and was looking solid when a safety car was bought out after an opening-lap shunt between Falcon teammates Steve Johnson and Paul Radisich.

There were seven laps run under yellow and the lap after the race restarted, Besnard slipped into the pits to make his compulsory pit stop for tyres.

Unfortunately the right-rear wheel nut jammed and Besnard was left in the pits for 15.9 seconds.

Besnard slipped back to 19th place, but fought his way back to finish 13th, despite a venture on to the grass down the main straight mid-way through the race.

"I think we were in with a real chance today, but it didn't happen," said Besnard.

"We gave it out best shot, but mistakes happen, unfortunately they happened when they did today.

"I was not going to die wondering in the shootout. This is the type of track where you have to give it everything you have got in a shootout lap.

"It was almost good enough for pole and was god enough for my second front-row start.

"We now have to look to tomorrow and ensure we get as many championship points as possible.

"We can still finish as high as seventh in the championship and that's our target."

There will be two 56-lap races tomorrow with the telecast on Network Ten.