Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose became the new benchmark for this weekend's Betta Electrical Sandown 500 with a stunning display in today's top 10 shootout at the Sandown International Raceway in Melbourne. The current championship...
Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose became the new benchmark for this weekend's Betta Electrical Sandown 500 with a stunning display in today's top 10 shootout at the Sandown International Raceway in Melbourne.
The current championship leader, Ambrose was third after official qualifying, but then produced a lap more than four tenths of a second quicker than his nearest opponent to claim his fifth pole position in his year's V8 Supercar Championship Series and the 13th in 33 starts.
Ambrose will share the Pirtek/Caltex Havoline Ford with regular SBR teammate Russell Ingall in tomorrow's 161-lap race.
"Yesterday was all about Russell and myself getting comfortable with the car and each other," said Ambrose.
"Today was about getting on with the job and dialing our qualifying set-up into the car.
"I have not had a great record in the endurance events to date, but I am hoping to turn that all around tomorrow.
"Pit stops for fuel, tyres and brake pads are going to play a vital role in the outcome.
"The weather will play a critical role in who starts the race - not just with us, but for most of the teams."
Unfortunately Ingall never did a lap in the car today.
"It's nice when you can come to the track, not do a thing, and still end up on pole," joked Ingall.
"I will do plenty of laps in the warm-up tomorrow and then see what the weather is doing before we decide who starts the race.
"Marcos has been doing a great job in qualifying this season so it was only natural that he would qualify the car today and he continued his form.
"I think we can get on and do the job tomorrow."
There was a chance of both SBR Falcons being in the top 10, but youngster Mark Winterbottom admits to "messing up" his opportunity in qualifying.
"I just tried too hard," said Winterbottom, who will start 14th.
"I was on a lap that would have certainly put me in the top 10, but I messed up the last turn and that was that. I am sure we have a very solid race car."
Winterbottom's teammate Mark Noske did a few laps today and was quicker and improved on yesterday's times.
"I would have liked some more time in the car, but that's the way it goes," said Noske.
"I became more comfortable with the car and the time improved as a result.
"I think having a better set of tyres than we had yesterday certainly helped with my confidence.
"The balance of the car is very good and I think we have the speed for a strong result."
Tomorrow's race will be round nine of the V8 Supercar Championship Series and returns as the traditional lead-up to the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at Bathurst next month.