Ambrose Has Title in Sight Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose moved 16 points closer to back-to-back V8 Supercar titles when he finished second in the opening heat of the Tasmanian Triple Challenge at Symmons Plains Raceway near Launceston...
Ambrose Has Title in Sight
Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose moved 16 points closer to back-to-back V8 Supercar titles when he finished second in the opening heat of the Tasmanian Triple Challenge at Symmons Plains Raceway near Launceston today.
Ambrose had a great start and fought off an army of Holdens at the front of the field, a slower than normal pit stop and a late shower of rain in his Pirtek Falcon to take second place behind Rick Kelly.
Ambrose's SBR team mate Russell Ingall also had a strong result driving from 11th to seventh in his Caltex Falcon.
Ambrose came into the weekend needing to score 27 more points than Jason Bright and two more points than Greg Murphy to clinch the title.
He scored 16 more points than Bright and 18 more points than Murphy in today's race and has another two heats tomorrow to stretch his points lead and possibly claim the title.
Ambrose made a great start to slot into second, but was sitting fourth at the mid-point of the race when Steve Richards and Todd Kelly had a coming together in front of him through the final right-hander.
The incident left a big gap and Ambrose drove through it and maintained his position to the end.
"We came here this weekend with three things to achieve," said Ambrose.
"The first was to finish every race. The second was to try and clinch the title and the third was to possibly win the round. If we managed one of those I would be happy.
"That was a very dangerous race out there today for us and there were many stages where I needed to be conservative, especially towards the end when the rain started to come down."
Ingall was happy to make up as many places as he did, especially after a racing incident with Mark Skaife at turn two on lap 36 of the 42-race contest.
Skaife tried to pass Ingall, but was unlikely to make the corner and ended up in the sand trap on the outside of the turn. A local yellow flag was all that was required and the race was completed without one safety car period.
"I did not even realise it was Skaife until after the race, I thought it was (Todd) Kelly," said Ingall.
"He was not going to make the corner and I was lucky not to be dragged off with him.
"(Greg) Murphy also spun just in front of me at the hairpin late in the race and I missed him by millimetres.
"It was disappointing to miss the shootout after being baulked on my flyer, but overall the race was pretty solid, including a fantastic stop from my Caltex crew which was one of their fastest for the season.
"Last time I was here I qualified 11th and finished on the podium. I have a bit of work to do tomorrow, but I still think we are well in there with a chance.
"It was certainly interesting to be out there for the last 10 or so laps on slicks as the rain came down.
"We really needed to be on wets at the end, but you couldn't risk coming in and loosing a 20 spots."
* Marcos Ambrose has found guilty of the offence of "Intimidation and Threats" arising from his actions towards Rick Kelly after race one of the Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge at Indy. CAMS officials said that a fine of $10,000 would apply, but because of the absence of any prior offences the fine as been suspended until December 31, 2005. Ambrose will not be required to pay the fine unless he is found guilty of any similar offence before that date.
"I disagree with the outcome, but accept it in an effort to move forward," said Ambrose.
"This finally puts this out of the way after more than two weeks of talk.
"Now I just want to go racing."