INGALL CLAIMS MAIDEN V8 TITLE
Stone Brothers Racing's Russell Ingall claimed his first V8 Supercar crown at the BigPond Grand Finale at Phillip Island Raceway in Victoria today.
In his 10th year of V8 Supercar competition, Ingall finished fifth in the two final heats of the final round in his Caltex Falcon to collect his maiden crown ahead of fellow Ford driver Craig Lowndes.
Ingall's SBR team-mate Marcos Ambrose finished his V8 Supercar career in style and gave Ford the V8 Supercar manufacturers' title when he won the round with wins in both of today's 32-lap races.
Ambrose, who won the last two V8 Supercar Championships, finished third in this year's title chase in his Pirtek Falcon and now heads to the US to chase a career in the NASCAR series.
Ingall's victory was the third consecutive championship victory for the Stone Brothers Racing outfit.
In the end he won the championship with 1922 points from Craig Lowndes (1865), Ambrose (1856), Todd Kelly (1760), Mark Skaife (1754) and Garth Tander (1734).
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY--..
RUSSELL INGALL -- CALTEX RACING
"I have a little bit of mixed emotions, but I am glad its over," said Ingall.
"I guess I am waiting for it all to sink in. Maybe that will happen after a few VBs with the Caltex crew tonight.
"This is a fantastic result for Ford, Caltex, Bosch and everyone involved with Stone Brothers Racing.
"So many people have worked so hard for this moment and I am happy it has finally come.
"I had a few moments out there in both races, but I guess they all seem "moments" when you have the championship on the line.
"At the end of the day, you don't go slower in the head as you get older, just physically.
"If you can keep yourself fit, you are in the game and I plan to do that for sometime yet.
"Now we have number one on the door we are the target for next season and we need to ensure we are ready.
"We will review of weaknesses over Christmas and fix them. Then we can blast into 2006 as the champions.
"You have to be smart and quick to win this championship. You have to do absolutely everything. What ever it takes.
"Our job was made easier this weekend because the Caltex Falcon was quick, but because of our situation we could not really show how quick it was."
MARCOS AMBROSE -- PIRTEK RACING
"My time in V8 Supercars has been pretty special and to go out with a win like we did today and give Ford the manufacturers' title is extra special," said Ambrose.
"I have built up some tremendous friendships in this series up and down pit lane then you have everyone at Ford and Pirtek.
"I have many great friends in the Pirtek organisation and I will certainly miss those guys next year.
"There was a tear in my eye there at the end, but at the same time I am excited about what lies ahead.
"I had a terrific car this weekend and I guess to win the round was a great reward for all boys and a fitting way to go out.
"I have to thank Ford, Pirtek, my crew and Ross and Jimmy Stone and their families for all their support and giving me the opportunity for such success over the last five years."
The opening round of the 2006 championship with be the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide from March 23-26.