SBR leading Ford team at the AGP. Russell Ingall made a solid debut to the next phase of his motorsport career when he qualified fourth and as the leading Ford driver for the opening race of the Netspace V8 Supercar Showdown at the ...
SBR leading Ford team at the AGP.
Russell Ingall made a solid debut to the next phase of his motorsport career when he qualified fourth and as the leading Ford driver for the opening race of the Netspace V8 Supercar Showdown at the Foster's Australian Grand at Albert Park in Melbourne today.
Ingall, making his debut in his Caltex Havoline Ford after switching from the Holden camp on January 1, set a time of one minute and 59.399 seconds around the 5.303km to qualify fourth behind Mark Skaife, Jason Bright and Todd Kelly.
Unfortunately Ingall's Stone Brothers Racing teammate Marcos Ambrose had a minor electrical problem after just one completed lap and stopped out on the circuit.
Amazingly, his one lap of 2:00.256 was good enough to earn him 14th place on the grid in the 32-car field for tomorrow's opening 10-lap race.
Ingall improved from eighth place in the morning practice session and believes there was a little bit left in his new BA Falcon.
"I am certainly very pleased to be in the top four, although a little higher would have been nice," said Ingall.
"We had only done three hours of practice in this car before today and the qualifying session was the first time we had run it with new rubber.
"We probably went a little too early with our second set of tyres because the track obviously got better and better as the session wore on.
"I had a couple of minor offs I guess you could say I was doing a bit of exploring.
"I did not keep the SBR record intact by taking pole on debut, but it could have been a lot worse than fourth.
"I am looking forward to getting amongst it tomorrow and hopefully having the Caltex Havoline Ford on the podium and set up our weekend."
Ambrose knows he needs to get a good start tomorrow and use the 10-lap race as a big test session.
"The car just stopped and I guess its better for that to happen here rather in the first round of the championship in Adelaide in a couple of weeks time," said Ambrose.
"I think we would have given that pole time a good shake, but it was not to be.
"We only got in one complete lap so to be as high as we are is probably OK.
"We just need to get a good start, jump into the top 10 and learn as much as possible about the new car as we can.
"We also obviously want to bring the car home with the Pirtek signage on the side of it unscratched.
"We certainly improved the car from the morning session, but we never got to see how much.
"This is one of those tracks where you have to 'hit it' to get on the front row.
"Unfortunately we never have that chance today and it hurt us."
There will be a 10-lap race tomorrow, a 12-lapper on Saturday and another 10-lap contest on Sunday morning.