SBR CLAIMS ANOTHER 1-2 AT ORAN PARK Stone Brothers Racing clinched another record-breaking 1-2 finish in the eighth round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Oran Park Raceway in Sydney today. Russell Ingall finally broke his Oran Park...
SBR CLAIMS ANOTHER 1-2 AT ORAN PARK
Stone Brothers Racing clinched another record-breaking 1-2 finish in the eighth round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Oran Park Raceway in Sydney today.
Russell Ingall finally broke his Oran Park "hoodoo" when he won his first event at Oran Park in his Caltex Falcon after 10 attempts and his SBR teammate Marcos Ambrose was second in his Pirtek Falcon.
Ingall has now won or finished second outright at every Tran-Tasman race track on the V8 Supercar calendar since he joined the title chase in 1996 with the exception of the now-defunct Canberra track, where he did win an individual race, but not a round.
It was Ingall's 12th round victory and he has now won at least one round in every year of his V8 Supercar career, with the exception on 2000.
Ingall finished second in today's opening race to Steve Richards and then won the second race from Ambrose -- the 26th race win of his V8 Supercar Championship career.
Ambrose now leads the championship by 106 points from Ingall, while Richards is another 17 points back in third.
The 1-2 was the third for SBR after the Queensland 300 in 2003 and the Betta Electrical Sandown 500 last year.
In another good day for SBR drivers, Luke Youlden, who will partner Ingall in the fast approaching Sandown 500 and SuperCheap Auto Bathurst 1000, finished with a trio of top-three results and a second placing overall in the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup races today.
HOW IT UNFOLDED--..
Ambrose got away to a great start in his Pirtek Falcon and led the field into the first corner from Rick Kelly, Craig Lowndes, Ingall and Richards.
Ambrose pitted on lap 15 and Lowndes, who was in second, pitted one lap later.
Another four laps later Ambrose led Lowndes by more than 10 seconds -- a gap he managed to maintain before he was given a drive through penalty on lap 23 for an alleged pit lane speeding infringement.
Amazingly Lowndes was given the same penalty a lap later and that basically left Richards in the lead ahead of Ingall.
Ingall chased Richards to the flag, but a major lock up through turn one left him with a scarred tyre on an ill-handling car, and he was not able to make up the gap.
After the race both SBR and Lowndes' Triple Eight Racing team questioned the officials' decision of the drive through penalty, because the data of both teams indicated that the infringements did not occur.
After considering this and reviewing the evidence, race officials decided that "judge of fact" would apply and that Ambrose and Lowndes' results would stand.
Despite rejoining the field in 15th, Ambrose fought his way back through the field to finish fourth while Lowndes ended up ninth.
Ingall had another of his cracking starts in race two and led Ambrose and Richards into turn one.
He had managed to grab a three or four car length lead by mid-way through the opening lap when a safety car period resulted after Mark Skaife ended up in the sand at turn three.
Ambrose pitted on lap seven and when Ingall pitted nine laps later he rejoined the field in second place of the cars that had pitted behind his teammate.
Ambrose had a 4.15-second lead, but Ingall slowly wore him down with the help of his fresh rubber.
By lap 24 they were nose to tail with just 0.4 of a second separating them when another safety car was released after Jason Richards ran wide and got bogged at turn two.
The race re-started on lap 29 and seven laps later Ingall finally got by Ambrose in a delicate move at turn three.
A couple of laps later Ingall had a one second gap on Ambrose and there was a further 4.4 seconds back to Greg Murphy.
When Ingall claimed his first chequered flag at Oran Park the gap to Ambrose was 6.2 seconds while Murphy was another 3.2 seconds back in third.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY--..
"It feels great to finally get the Oran Park hoodoo off my back," said Ingall.
"It is pretty amazing that this is my first podium here after 10 years of trying.
"I did struggle a bit in the first race, but I told the Caltex crew what my concerns were and whatever they did between races fixed it.
"The car was a jet in the second race and I had a little in reserve.
"I knew Marcos would not make it easy to get past him, but I think he knew I had a faster car and we were never going to do anything stupid.
"It would have been pretty ugly if both of us had been walking back to the pits.
"Our goal this weekend was to get back into second place in the championship and we managed to achieve that.
"Obviously Marcos is going to be hard to catch in the championship with the way the points system is structured, but funnier things have happened in this sport.
"We just need to keep our heads down and keep trying to win races."
"I guess you could say that everything is going to plan," said Ambrose.
"I was disappointed with everything that happened around the drive through penalty, but we accept that and move on.
"To come away second and with 180 points despite the drive through penalty is a great result for us.
"I was certainly pushing on in that first race and passing plenty of cars. I did not really have time to reflect on the drive through until the race had finished.
"Russell managed to close the gap on me in the second race after my tyres went away and it was a matter of when, not if, he was going to pass me.
"Once he decided to have a go at me at turn three I got out of his way.
"We made an early stop in the second race because we thought we had the car speed, but Russell's car was just too strong.
"I am now looking forward to Sandown where a good result will give me enough points up my sleeve to have a real good go at Bathurst if I am in a strong position at the end of that race."
The next round of the championship will be the Betta Electrical Sandown 500 in Melbourne on September 9-11.