Pukekohe: Friday practice report

Ambrose leads lap record blitz at Pukekohe V8 Supercar champion Marcos Ambrose gave his New Zealand owners cause to celebrate when he topped practice at the PlaceMakers V8 International at Pukekohe Park Raceway today. Ambrose smashed the...

Ambrose leads lap record blitz at Pukekohe

V8 Supercar champion Marcos Ambrose gave his New Zealand owners cause to celebrate when he topped practice at the PlaceMakers V8 International at Pukekohe Park Raceway today.

Ambrose smashed the lap record by nearly half a second in the Pirtek Ford as 21 drivers went under the old mark in an exciting two hour practice session.

The 2003 and 2004 V8 Supercar Championship Series winners wants to become the first Ford driver to win the New Zealand round for Jimmy and Ross Stone, who cut their motorsport teeth at Pukekohe, growing up close to the circuit.

Re-surfacing of the track helped the slick times in practice with the top 29 drivers within one second, and the whole field covered by less than two seconds.

Kiwis Steven Richards (Team Perkins Motorsport) and Paul Radisich (Team Kiwi) were second and third fastest today with Holdens claiming 10 of the 12 fastest times.

Ambrose was delighted with the improvements to the track surface.

"The track was fantastic. It's really fast. The track is pretty wild and there will be plenty of action over the weekend," Ambrose said.

"I am excited about the race. This is a great little track. I would love to win for Ross and Jimmy to repay them for everything they have done for me,'' said the two-time champion who is heading to race in the United States next year."

There was plenty of excitement in the Team Kiwi camp, the only New Zealand-based team in the championship. They showed their effort in setting second fastest time in qualifying in Adelaide was no one-off, and clearly displayed the benefits of the partnership with Paul Morris Motorsport and the acquisition of two-time world touring care champion Radisich.

"The car's on fire. It's very exciting," Radisich said. "The track is a bit like yesteryear and you had to have balls to come over the mountain with real pace. It's the difference between a good lap and a really fast one. Today is really great for Team Kiwi and the association with Paul Morris Motorsport. It shows if you have the right equipment you can get the results."

Richards set some early slick times and returned late in the session to claim the second fastest time.

"The format for this session is fantastic. It gave us the time to experiment, make changes and work on things. That's exactly what we did and we were very pleased."

Three-time Pukekohe winner Greg Murphy was more than satisfied with his effort, finishing ninth fastest in the Super Cheap Auto Holden. He was among the quickest before also opting to make some changes.

"I'm very happy with the way things are going. I did the entire session on practice tyres while many of the others went on to grains," Murphy said. "We took the opportunity to try a few things. Some of them worked and some didn't but overall the car was consistent and fast."

Qualifying, Top-10 Shootout and the first race over 100kms are scheduled for tomorrow with two 140km races on Sunday.

-avesco-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Greg Murphy , Paul Morris , Paul Radisich , Steven Richards