MIXED BUT RELATIVELY SUCCESSFUL DAY FOR SBR Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose and Russell Ingall had a mixed, but relatively successful day after the opening race of round six of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Darwin's Hidden...
MIXED BUT RELATIVELY SUCCESSFUL DAY FOR SBR
Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose and Russell Ingall had a mixed, but relatively successful day after the opening race of round six of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway today.
Ambrose qualified eighth in his Pirtek Falcon, but then jumped four spots in the top 10 shootout.
The two-time and defending series champion then jumped into third place off the line, but gave up one spot to Crag Lowndes on lap nine of the 17-lap race after slightly locking his rear brakes on the entry to turn five.
Ingall qualified 10th in his Caltex Falcon, but was then excluded from the session and sent to the rear of the grid because he failed to go to the weigh-in scales in pit lane after his quick lap.
The two-time Bathurst winner went from 34th to 24th on the opening lap and consistently picked up places as the race wore on to eventually finish a respectable 14th.
Ambrose increased his championship lead over Ingall, who increased his lead on third placed Steve Richards, who slid off the track on lap 13 and eventually finished 22nd.
"When you are not in a position to win a race, you just have to go for the points," said Ambrose.
"Everyone loves to win, but I needed to be a little more conservative today.
"Around lap nine I nipped the rear brakes and drifted a little wide and that allowed Craig (Lowndes) to stick his nose up the inside. Once he was there I just let him go rather than be in a position where I damaged the car.
"I was pleased to score the points we did and it was always going to be tough to pass cars over such a short race without pit stops.
"I struggled a little with the balance of the car and we can certainly improve it overnight."
By the end of lap 10 Ingall was 18th and on lap 12 he got by Jamie Whincup for 17th and Jason Richards, who slipped off the track with Paul Dumbrell, who was a lap down.
The following lap Steve Richards had an off at the same spot on the track and Ingall jumped into 15th.
He got by Max Wilson one lap from home and was then beaten to the line in a drag race with Greg Murphy by just 0.09 of a second.
"There was a little brain fade after my lap in qualifying and once I had realised my mistake I had already passed the scales," said Ingall
"Once it was done it was done and I really had to start thinking about strategy from the back of the grid.
"The opening lap was always going to be where I made up the most spots and that proved right after a pretty good start.
"I got a hit on the left side on the exit of the first turn and that damaged the end my exhaust pipe and probably cost me about 15 or 20 horsepower for the rest of the race.
"Overall the car was pretty good and we just need to ensure we keep it all together tomorrow and keep scoring points."
There will be two 48-lap races tomorrow with compulsory tyre stops.