Murphy closes in on V8 Supercar Championship Series leader Ambrose Kiwi flyer Greg Murphy declared himself a genuine championship contender despite reigning champion Marcos Ambrose extending his lead while still trying to deflect attention away...
Murphy closes in on V8 Supercar Championship Series leader Ambrose
Kiwi flyer Greg Murphy declared himself a genuine championship contender despite reigning champion Marcos Ambrose extending his lead while still trying to deflect attention away from his controversial first race of the Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge.
Kmart Racing's Murphy has now won back-to-back rounds of the championship after his second successive Bathurst win a fortnight ago by defeating Pirtek Racing's Ambrose on his home patch during the Lexmark Indy 300 at the Gold Coast.
The pair finished first and second in each race and therefore on equal points for the event. Murphy won the round courtesy of winning the last event of the weekend. Holden Racing Team's Todd Kelly was third in both races and the round.
Murphy (1665) moved into third in the championship from Ambrose (1856) and second-placed PWR Racing's Jason Bright (1690). New Zealander Murphy is now certain he still has a hope of overhauling Ambrose in the championship.
"We have been gaining on Marcos slowly," Murphy said. "All it's going to take is one DNF (did not finish) from someone and we are right back in there."
Murphy's drive in both races was superb. He flew off the blocks today and held the lead throughout despite immense pressure from Craig Lowndes for the first 17 laps until the Ford Performance Racing driver broke his steering.
That left Ambrose and Murphy fighting for the lead with HRT's Kelly on their tail.
"It was a tough race and the temperatures were phenomenal," Murphy said.
"The fact of it is that we are trying to win a championship and it's very hard with Marcos just behind me today."
The biggest losses for the round were Rick Kelly who dropped from second to fourth with two poor races and Steven Richards who went from third to sixth.
Ambrose still couldn't shake the controversy of race one yesterday when he allegedly "brake tested" Rick Kelly on the finish line and then allegedly abused the young Holden driver in pit lane. Stewards were still reviewing the incident after the second race was completed.
It flared again after the second race.
"I believe that Rick was out of line," Ambrose said.
"I refute the claims totally and that's the state of play. I slowed down after the race and I don't dispute that. I refute the claim that I brake tested him."
Still, Ambrose has one hand on the championship with two rounds to go at the Tasmanian Triple Challenge in Launceston and the BigPond Grand Finale at Eastern Creek in Sydney.
"This was always going to be a critical round," Ambrose said.
"I wasn't even thinking of the championship after Bathurst. There's still a lot of racing left and I'm not counting on a championship just yet."
The Tasmanian Triple Challenge takes place in Launceston from November 12-14 with the BigPond Grand Finale closing the year from December 3-5.