Ambrose fastest overall despite crash in first practice session

Jason Bright topped the second practice session for the final round of the 2004 V8 Supercar Championship Series - the BigPond Grand Finale at Eastern Creek this afternoon. Championship leader, Marcos Ambrose, was first overall but a bit nervous after crashing out of the earlier session.

Ambrose, Bright and Greg Murphy are the only three drivers still with a chance of winning the Championship this weekend, with Ambrose in the box seat and only needing 15th in one of the three races to seal his second title.

"I just made a mistake I think," Ambrose explained of his 240km/h Turn One crash.

"It was a wet track with a dry line, and I don't know if I just got stuck on the wet line a little. But it's OK, the damage was only cosmetic and it came up pretty well.

"I have got to this point in the Championship because I attack the car. I try to get the best out of me and the car. If it was a mistake it was a minute mistake and it was just circumstances - wet grass at 240km/h and a small sandtrap."

Ambrose said the damage to the car was repaired by the time the second session began and now he had to concentrate on winning the Championship.

"This time 12 months ago I was like a kettle ready to boil. I'm much more relaxed now, I'm as a cool as a cucumber, partly because we've done it before but also because we have such a big points lead."

Jason Bright said he had only a remote chance of taking out the series, and that his main goal was to steal second from Greg Murphy who was struggling on his bogey track in 28th spot.

"The car has been good this weekend, we've had a bit of a sit and talk about it and planned a few things, and it seems to be working," Bright said. "This hasn't always been a good track for us, so to be quick so early is good.

"The Championship is not out of the question, but it really is Marcos' (Ambrose) Championship to lose. We don't really look at what Murphy and Ingall are doing - we just have to concentrate on what we can do."

Mark Skaife and Todd Kelly were third and fourth for the Holden Racing Team, both struggling on what they rated as poor tyres while looking forward to a better day when qualifying begins tomorrow afternoon. Skaife is yet to win a round of the 2004 series, his last winless season was in 1998.

Warren Luff was fifth fastest in his last outing in the Shell Helix Falcon, saying he was looking forward to this race meeting because it was the first time he had returned to a track where he had previously raced for the team.

"It's been a god day for us, this is the one I've been looking forward to because it is the first of the repeat rounds," Luff said. "We were 27th here on the Friday earlier in the year and today we are fifth -- we had 27 cars in front of us and now we've got 27 cars behind us."

David Besnard continued his race winning form from Tasmania with sixth fastest in the WPS Falcon, just ahead of Craig Lowndes and Steve Johnson. Steven Richards and Paul Morris rounded out the top 10, with the Kmart Commodores of Greg Murphy and Rick Kelly down in 28th and 29th.

Tomorrow's V8 Supercar action starts at 11:40am before qualifying in the afternoon, with a top 10 Shootout and a 100km twilight race rounding out one of the busiest days of the year for the V8 Supercar teams.