Hidden Valley: SBR Sunday report

Ingall Finishes Third Outright in Darwin Stone Brothers Racing's Russell Ingall finished outright third and improved one position in the V8 Supercar Championship Series after an action-packed day in round four at Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway...

Ingall Finishes Third Outright in Darwin

Stone Brothers Racing's Russell Ingall finished outright third and improved one position in the V8 Supercar Championship Series after an action-packed day in round four at Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway today.

Ingall won yesterday's opening 17-lap race in his Caltex Havoline Ford and headed into turn one of today's opening race as leader, but was unfortunately turned around by his teammate Marcos Ambrose after he misjudged his braking point in his Pirtek Falcon.

Ingall went back to 28th place, but managed to fight his way back to 11th after a solid pit stop from his crew.

Ambrose managed to race on and was leading when he came in for his scheduled tyre stop. Unfortunately a wheel rolled loose into pit lane and Ambrose was forced to suffer a drive through penalty. He eventually fought his way back to 13th.

Ingall and Ambrose both had solid starts in race three and were eighth and 11th respectively after the opening lap.

Great pit stops for both drivers again played a major role in elevating them through the field.

In a fantastic final-corner battle Ambrose managed to get beside Steve Richards and he won a drag race to the finish line by just 0.0928 of a second to finish second behind Todd Kelly.

Ingall had settled into fourth position behind Greg Murphy, but decided to not risk passing the Holden driver, after he was radioed by his crew to tell him that he would be on the weekend's overall podium if he stayed where he was.

Kelly won the weekend outright from Richards and Ingall. Richards also went back into the championship lead and heads Ambrose by just 10 points with nine rounds still remaining.

Today's two 100km races were held in rising heat with the track temperature being recorded at 42 degrees before the start of the last event.

Ingall was just happy to finish on the podium after such a dramatic weekend.

"It was a great recovery, that's for sure," said Ingall. "The guys gave me a couple of good stops in the races which elevated me a few spots today.

"We have a very quick car and I think we saw that today.

"We actually made a few changes between race two and three and the thing was fantastic, although we are still chasing a little horsepower.

"To jump a spot in the championship is always a bonus -- as long as you are going forwards and not backwards it's all good."

Ingall was philosophical about the opening-lap incident with Ambrose in race two.

"It was a typical first corner accident," said Ingall. "It was unfortunate because it hurt what could be been a great weekend, but accidents happen.

"Marcos came straight to me after the race and apologised. Accidents happen and you need to take it on the chin."

Ambrose was also happy to "get away" with fourth outright for the weekend.

"I guess I am pleased that we recovered the way we did," said Ambrose. "I stuffed up on the opening lap of the second race and at the end of the day it was my mistake. I'm just glad for Russell that he finished on the podium.

"I have obviously spoken to Russell about it and he is holding nothing against me, which is nice.

"I am surprised to finish the weekend fourth overall considering the way the weekend unfolded, but I guess that's an indication of the fighting spirit in this team.

"We will not win championships doing what I did in the first couple of races, so we need to learn from that and get things together before we head to Perth for the next round."

Kelly is the fourth different round winner in as many starts this season.

The last time the season opened with four different winners was back in 1997 when Wayne Gardner, Ingall, Glenn Seton and Murphy took the honours.

The next round of the championship will be held on newly-surfaced Barbagallo Raceway in Perth on June 11-13.

-sbr-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Greg Murphy , Wayne Gardner , Russell Ingall , Glenn Seton , Steve Richards