Bathurst: SBR Saturday report

AMBROSE ON BATHURST FRONT ROW Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose will start from the front row for tomorrow's Super Cheap Auto 1000 at Bathurst's Mt Panorama. Ambrose, who will be paired with Warren Luff tomorrow, qualified second in the...

AMBROSE ON BATHURST FRONT ROW

Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose will start from the front row for tomorrow's Super Cheap Auto 1000 at Bathurst's Mt Panorama.

Ambrose, who will be paired with Warren Luff tomorrow, qualified second in the Pirtek Falcon with a shootout lap of 2:08.8571.

Second spot is Ambrose's best starting position at Bathurst since taking pole on debut in 2001. It is also his fifth top-eight result.

The front-row is a Ford "lock out" after Craig Lowndes qualified on pole in his Falcon just 0.2581 of a second faster than Ambrose.

It was a frustrating day for Ambrose's SBR team-mate Russell Ingall who was second-fastest in the morning practice session and then on a terrific lap in the shootout when he had a gearbox failure mid-way through The Chase.

The problem locked-up his Caltex Falcon and sent him spinning into the sand trap on the outside of The Chase automatically relegating him to 10th place on the starting grid.

The shootout was run about an hour after a shower of rain and the first two drivers, Jim Richards and Glenn Seton did their laps on wet-weather tyres.

Ingall was the first driver out on slick tyres and was 3.7 seconds up on the previous best time when he had his mechanical problem, which was watched back in the pitlane by his co-driver Luke Youlden.

The gearbox was Ingall's practice box and will be replaced overnight along drive-line components. The incident also destroyed Ingall's two rear tyres and delayed the session by about 15 minutes which allowed the track to dry even further for the cars running later in the shootout.

In the modern V8 Supercar era there have been four teams win at Bathurst from 10th place or worse on the grid including Garth Tander and Jason Bargwanna in 2000 (10th), Greg Murphy and Steve Richards in 1999 (12th), Jason Bright and Richards 1998 (15th), Dick Johnson and John Bowe in 1994 (10th).

Ironically there have only been two wins from pole in that time with Murphy and Rick Kelly dominating in 2003 and Mark Skaife and Jim Richards achieving the feat the previous year.

Tomorrow's race will be 161 laps with each driver required to complete at least 54 laps each.

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY--.

MARCOS AMBROSE -- PIRTEK RACING

"I was conservative over the top of the mountain because there were still some damp patches and that combined with Craig's (Lowndes) driving was probably the difference," said Ambrose.

"It's a Ford lock out on the front row and that's a great thing.

"I would have been happy to be in the top six, so to be on the front row is a real bonus.

"Our approach to this weekend has pretty much been spot on and has us in a good position for the race.

"It is always a long, long day and I think reliability is going to be a key factor for many teams tomorrow.

"Fuel consumption and the number of stops that a team has to do will also be a big topic of conversation.

"I guess most teams are looking at trying to make four stops, but that will depend on a lot of things, especially the number of safety car laps.

"There are just so many variables at Bathurst and I guess that's why winning it would be such an achievement."

WARREN LUFF -- PIRTEK RACING

"Marcos did a fantastic job in the shootout and the team has been doing a great job all weekend," said Luff.

"I think we are going into the race with a very good race package and I am really looking forward to my stints.

"It's a good feeling knowing we are going into tomorrow's race with a chance to winning."

RUSSELL INGALL -- CALTEX RACING

"What can I say?" said Ingall.

"I was having a pretty good go and had gotten through the worst of the damp track when everything just locked up in The Chase.

"I wasn't going to do a pole time because the track dried a fair bit more, but I would have at least been a couple of rows further forward.

"We were going to change the box overnight anyway, but the boys will certainly have more work now than they were planning on.

"We really sorted out some issues in the morning practice and had a reasonably quick car at the end of the day.

"It is interesting that more people have won this race in the last 11 years from 10th or worse on the grid than they have from pole. Hopefully we can add to that record tomorrow.

"Despite our mechanical problem today I am reasonably comfortable with everything that has gone on so far this weekend and certainly think we are a chance of winning this thing."

LUKE YOULDEN -- CALTEX RACING

"I guess if we are going to have a problem like Russell had today its always better to happen in practice and not in the race," said Youlden.

"The morning session produced a lot of good things for us and the shootout mishap is something that we just need to forget about.

"I think the package we have can put us well in the hunt. I have experienced the podium here before, but it would be great to stand on that top step."

-sbr-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Garth Tander , Marcos Ambrose , Jason Bright , Greg Murphy , Jim Richards , Rick Kelly , Craig Lowndes , Jason Bargwanna , John Bowe , Glenn Seton , Luke Youlden , Warren Luff , Dick Johnson , Steve Richards