Stone Brothers Racing stepped up their pace in their assault on this weekend's Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 when Marcos Ambrose was fourth quickest in official qualifying today. The Caltex Havoline-Pirtek sponsored Falcon of Ambrose and Russell Ingall...
Stone Brothers Racing stepped up their pace in their assault on this weekend's Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 when Marcos Ambrose was fourth quickest in official qualifying today.
The Caltex Havoline-Pirtek sponsored Falcon of Ambrose and Russell Ingall was 14th after practice yesterday, but has qualified fourth for tomorrow's top 10 shootout after clocking a time of two minutes and 8.2685 seconds around the 6.21km circuit.
SBR decided to concentrate on race set-up on older tyres in practice yesterday, but today did enough to ensure a place in tomorrow afternoon's nationally-televised top 10 shootout.
The team's second car, which was qualified by Mark Winterbottom and will be co-driven by Mark Noske, will start 18th in Sunday's race.
Winterbottom later qualified on pole in his older AU Milligans Food Group Falcon for tomorrow's hour-long Konica V8 Supercar Series race with a time which would be placed him 14th on the grid for the main race on Sunday.
The Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 qualifying session was split into a couple of sections by a shower of rain which made the track slippery and saw the majority of the field stationary in pit lane for several minutes.
The rain stopped and the sun broke through and dried the track enough for several teams, including SBR, to put in a final run at the top 10.
With 10 minutes to go and the track starting dry, the top five was Greg Murphy, John Bowe, Steve Johnson, Steve Ellery and Greg Ritter, while Ambrose was back in ninth.
When the session closed Ellery and Ritter were outside the top 10 and Ambrose was fourth after what was a fascinating end to the day.
Ambrose only had time for a couple of laps after a quick change during the rain period and came back out to produce on of the best "pressure" laps of his career.
"We were not too worried about where we were after practice yesterday because we were working on car set-up," said Ambrose.
"I have to say I was a little worried today with 10 minutes to go in today's qualifying.
"Thankfully the sun came out and gave us a last-ditch crack at it.
"We had made a couple of adjustments and did two quick laps to ensure we cemented our place in the top 10 and would have liked a third, but it did not come.
"If we can start on the first couple of rows on Sunday I will be happy, but I will be out there going for the pole in tomorrow's shootout.
"I think we paid the price for getting the pole in 2001 because we concentrated on getting a fast car and not a complete race car. This year is different.
"We will see what the shootout brings tomorrow."
"It was a pretty easy day for me, because I only did a few laps," said Ingall.
"I was a little nervous when that rain started to fall towards the end of the session, but I bet I was not the only one.
"Our aim today was to get into the top 10 shootout and we are there.
"I think we will have a very good race car on Sunday and I am looking forward to it as always."
"I did not improve from the morning session so that was pretty disappointing," admitted Winterbottom.
"I did not put it all together and the lap didn't come.
"We sort of lost our momentum when the rain started coming down and dropped a few spots as a result.
"We just need to put our heads down on Sunday and get the job done."
"It looked as through we would have been a little higher on the list, but the conditions were tough out there," said Noske.
"We are not that far off and I think we will have a very solid car for the race.
"Mark and I both have a great opportunity this weekend and we are determined to ensure we are there at the end when it counts."