Great third for Ambrose, but a win just two laps away. Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose finished third outright in today's Boost Mobile V8 International at Pukekohe in New Zealand after one of SBR's fastest, but most frustrating weekends...
Great third for Ambrose, but a win just two laps away.
Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose finished third outright in today's Boost Mobile V8 International at Pukekohe in New Zealand after one of SBR's fastest, but most frustrating weekends of racing ever.
Ambrose did a fantastic job to finish third in the morning's 54-lap race and got to within two laps of winning the second 54-lapper this afternoon when his front right tyre blew on his Pirtek Falcon.
He limped around to finish 10th and that was enough to give him third place overall for meeting behind Holden teammates Greg Murphy and Todd Kelly.
While third was a strong result, a win would have been a fantastic reward for team owners Ross and Jim Stone, who grew up just 20kms from the Pukekohe track.
It was also the track where the two learnt their own race craft and the basics of their engineering skills which have helped them build the most competitive Ford team in the V8 Supercar Championship Series.
"It just wasn't meant to be today," said Ambrose. "I 'grabbed' a tyre while I was chasing Murphy earlier in the race and maybe that had something to do with the tyre letting go a couple of laps from home.
"I am not blaming Dunlop, the track or anything else. We will just have to have a look at it and see.
"A win would have been fantastic today for Ross and Jimmy and all the boys who have worked so hard during the season. And also especially for the Ford fans, who have had a pretty lean year.
"We now have our eyes one a big result in the final round at Sandown and the chance to finish third in championship.
Ambrose's teammate David Besnard produced terrific speed all weekend, but nothing seemed to fall his way.
After a strong start in today's first race, Besnard was forced into the pits with a gearbox selector problem. He went three laps down and eventually finished 23rd.
In the third and final race of the weekend, Besnard made another fantastic start to move from 23rd to 17th by the end of the first lap. By the end of lap four he was in 11th position when he got a flat right front tyre.
He slipped back to 25th spot, but hammered his way back though the field, including an amazing move on Steve Johnson and Max Wilson around the outside at turn one. Besnard got the Caltex Havoline Ford back to eighth before his front left tyre let go coming on to the main straight and sent his car into the wall, causing some major, but fixable, damage to his Falcon.
Despite all the disappointment, Besnard still managed to hold on to ninth place in the championship with one round remaining at Sandown in three weeks time.
"Without doubt that is one of the most frustrating weekends of racing I have ever experienced," said Besnard. "We were super fast all weekend, but we just could not take a trick.
"I think we had the car to give Caltex Havoline their second win in four races, but just as we fought our way back something else would go wrong.
"Unfortunately the last flat tyre left us with nothing but a damaged race car.
"It would be great to go out with a big result in the final round at Sandown in three weeks time. We are still a chance of finishing as high as seventh in the championship and that is our goal."