Sandown: Stone Brothers Racing season finale preview

SBR looking to continue big week for Ford. Stone Brothers Racing is looking to continue a big week for Ford by winning the final round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at the Sandown International Raceway this weekend. Ford's new BA...

SBR looking to continue big week for Ford.

Stone Brothers Racing is looking to continue a big week for Ford by winning the final round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at the Sandown International Raceway this weekend.

Ford's new BA Falcon won the coveted "Wheels Car of the Year" yesterday and SBR drivers Marcos Ambrose and David Besnard are determined to keep the Ford flag flying in this weekend's Betta Electrical V8 Ultimate.

SBR has been the leading Ford team in the V8 Supercar Championship Series all year and is well prepared for the season finale, which will include a 150km race on Saturday and a 300km event on Sunday.

Ambrose is determined for a big result in his Pirtek Falcon in an effort to finish in the top three of the championship after a blown tyre cost him certain victory in the penultimate round in New Zealand a couple of weeks ago.

Ambrose is currently sixth in the championship fight, but is just 145 points behind second-placed Greg Murphy with a maximum of 240 points (80 Saturday and 160 Sunday) still up for grabs.

"We have certainly been proud to fly the Ford flag this season, although I personally believe our car has not been as competitive as it could have been due to downforce issues which have been out of our control," said Ambrose.

"It was great to see the new BA Falcon receive the Wheels award this week because it really is a fantastic road car.

"Hopefully it will also be a terrific race car and we can get Ford back on to the top step of the podium next season."

Besnard is the only Ford driver to have won a round this season after collecting the VIP Petfoods Queensland 500 in his Caltex Havoline Ford back in September.

Besnard was 28th in the championship after a couple of mechanical problems in the opening round of the championship back in March, but has fought his way back to sit ninth in the title chase making up more ground than any other driver in the championship.

"Bezzy" is just 63 points behind Holden driver Russell Ingall and 117 behind fellow Ford driver Craig Lowndes.

"It would be great if we could finish seventh in the championship and have the two SBR cars as the leading two Fords," said Besnard. "Winning the Wheels Car of the Year has been a great start to the week, hopefully we can keep that winning streak going in the Caltex Havoline Ford this weekend. "I think we have continually proven in the second half of the season how fast we can be and I think we can take that speed to Sandown this weekend."

Not since 1966 has the Ford Falcon won the most coveted car award when the XR Falcon took the title.

"It's almost impossible to fault the car's performance in the role for which it was designed," says Wheels editor and member of the 2002 judging panel, Ged Bulmer.

In four of the five Wheels Car of the Year criteria the BA Falcon rates superbly.

"Value is one of them. Nowhere else in the world can such a blend of size, safety, performance, handling, equipment, comfort and class be bought for equivalent money," added Bulmer.

* Network Ten will broadcast the Betta Electrical V8 Ultimate from 3pm-5pm on Saturday and from 1pm-5pm on Sunday.

CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (AFTER 12 OF 13 ROUNDS)
1: Mark Skaife 2064
2: Greg Murphy 1403
3: Jason Bright 1396
4: Todd Kelly 1303
5: Steven Richards 1277
6: Marcos Ambrose 1258
7: Craig Lowndes 996
8: Russell Ingall 942
9: David Besnard 879
10: Garth Tander 858

-sbr-

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Series V8SUPERCARS