SBR Fords finish 1-3 in opening Sandown race.
Stone Brothers Racing set a perfect foundation to win this weekend's final round of the V8 Supercar Championship when it finished 1-3 in today's opening heat of the Betta Electrical V8 Ultimate at Sandown International Raceway in Melbourne.
Marcos Ambrose grabbed pole for the race in the morning's top-15 shootout and then made his best start of the year to jump to an early lead in the 48-lap race.
Ambrose basically dictated the race in his Pirtek Falcon and eventually crossed the line ahead of Greg Murphy and his SBR teammate David Besnard.
Ambrose jumped one place in the championship standings and is hoping to move up at least two more places to finish third outright for the season with some big points gains tomorrow.
"Tomorrow is the day, but we also have to enjoy what we have achieved this afternoon," said Ambrose.
"It is not often that a team is quickest in every session and then goes out and wins the race.
"We have to thank Ross and Jimmy Stone and all the boys for giving us great race equipment today.
"Thankfully I was able to get a good start today and then go on a dictate and control pace.
"I have squandered four pole positions with bad starts this season, but today we got it right.
"Will make some changes for tomorrow's 300km race and hopefully close in on third place in the championship."
Besnard was quickest in the morning warm-up session and maintained yesterday's qualifying position of third in the top-15 shootout, which was conducted on a circuit changing by the minute.
Besnard slotted into third off the line, slipped back to sixth and the fought his way back to third after his compulsory pitstop on lap eight.
He was closing in on Murphy in the middle stages of the race when he was held up badly by some lapped traffic.
He eventually ran out of laps to catch Murphy and settled for third position and 51 championship points to clinch at least an outright top-10 championship finish.
"It is great to have the Caltex Havoline Ford on the podium today and hopefully we can go on with the job tomorrow," said Besnard.
"There were a couple of cars which cost me between 1.5 and two seconds each.
"If there had of been a few more laps I probably would not have gotten to Murphy because I had used up my tyres making up for lost time.
"There is no doubt that 300kms is going to be tough around here, but we are ready."
There will be a 20-minute warm-up tomorrow morning and a 96-lap race at 2pm.