Albert Park: SBR Thursday report

Ambrose Leading Ford Driver in GP Qualifying Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose was the leading Ford after official qualifying for the Netspace V8 Supercar support events at the Foster's Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park in ...

Ambrose Leading Ford Driver in GP Qualifying

Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose was the leading Ford after official qualifying for the Netspace V8 Supercar support events at the Foster's Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne today.

Ambrose was eighth after the initial qualifying session in his Pirtek Falcon, but jumped to fourth after his one-lap flyer in the top 10 shootout.

Ambrose's SBR teammate Russell Ingall was 13th today after missing his set-up in his Caltex Havoline Falcon and has made his chances of back-to-back victories at the GP a tough ask.

Ambrose is the only Ford driver in the top seven on the fast and smooth Albert Park layout which has taken a liking to the Holden aero package.

"We had a pretty good shake down today," said Ambrose, who claimed his first V8 Supercar Championship crown back in December.

"We were the leading Ford and that is important -- in fact I think we are 0.9 of a second in front of the next Ford (Paul Radisich).

"When you look at the qualifying it would be safe to say that this circuit really is suited to the Holdens with the current configurations.

"It will be a tough day with so many Holdens around me. That happened plenty of times last year so I am ready for the fight.

"Last year we did not start on a good note here or at the first round in Adelaide, so I guess we have a chance to turn that around."

Ingall said he will utilise the two 10-lap and one 19-lap races over the next three days as a vital learning experience with the opening event of the 2004 championship in Adelaide in a couple of weeks time.

"We experimented with a few things today and some times that works and other times it doesn't," admitted Ingall.

"Last year it was spot on, today we did not make the top 10, but I still think we learnt a lot.

"It is pretty hard to win here at Albert Park unless you start in the first couple of rows, so that will encourage us to try a lot more things over the next few days.

"With only six test days a year what we learn in these non-championship events this weekend will be vital with the title chase only a couple of weeks away.

"While saying that, we will be out there having a real go with the set-up we decide on."

TOP 15 -- HOW THEY WILL START
1: Greg Murphy (Holden) 1:58.977
2: Mark Skaife (Holden) 1:59.257
3: Jason Bright (Holden) 1:59.834
4: Marcos Ambrose (Ford) 2:00.043
5: Steve Richards (Holden) 2:00.604
6: Garth Tander (Holden) 2:00.861
7: Rick Kelly (Holden) 2:00.863
8: Paul Radisich (Ford) 2:01.088
9: Todd Kelly (Holden) 2:01.141
10: Simon Wills (Holden) 2:03.760

QAULIFYING TIMES
11: Jason Bargwanna (Ford) 2:00.863
12: John Bowe (Ford) 2:00.934
13: Russell Ingall (Ford) 2:01.017
14: Steve Ellery (Ford) 2:01.285
14: Paul Weel (Holden) 2:01.309

-sbr-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Garth Tander , Marcos Ambrose , Jason Bright , Greg Murphy , Russell Ingall , Rick Kelly , Mark Skaife , Paul Weel , Jason Bargwanna , Paul Radisich , John Bowe , Todd Kelly , Simon Wills , Steve Richards