Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose got the start he was looking for when he was the fastest driver in both practice sessions for this weekend's final round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Eastern Creek Raceway today.
Ambrose actually set the four fastest laps of the day in his Pirtek Falcon and was the only driver to break into the one minute and 32-second bracket to lay a solid foundation for the VIP Petfoods Main Event which is set to attract a record-breaking crowds.
Ambrose's SBR teammate Russell Ingall was also impressive clocking the fourth fastest time in his Caltex Havoline Ford.
Both drivers are hoping to carry that speed into tomorrow's unique and controversial 33-car shootout tomorrow morning.
Ambrose holds a 24-point lead over Holden's Greg Murphy heading into the weekend, which will involve a 150km race tomorrow and a 250km event on Sunday.
In the worst case scenario of Murphy winning both races, Ambrose needs to finish a minimum of fifth in both to claim his first V8 Supercar crown.
Reigning champion Mark Skaife is also a mathematical chance, but needs both Ambrose and Murphy to default in at least one of the race to be chance of claiming his sixth title.
"This is obviously the start we were after," said Ambrose. A 24-point lead in not as good as the 100-point lead we had earlier in the season, but it's a start. We obviously have some good early car speed and hopefully we can take that into the shootout tomorrow. It is going to be important for us to stay out of trouble and the best way to do that is start at the front."
Ingall was working on a different strategy than his fellow Queensland teammate.
"We have been messing up with set-up and things are working very well for us," said Ingall.
"We are concentrating on race set-up while Marcos is working on pace and it's nice to have the luxury.
"The car is very consistent, especially on the tyres which is going to be important here with such long races.
"We are here to win this weekend for Caltex and Ford, but at the same time we will do what we need to do to help Marcos win the title."