Skaife searching for maiden win in Perth after the perfect start May 7 2005 - Mark Skaife took first blood at a circuit he is yet to win an event at as V8 Supercar Championship Series champion Marcos Ambrose literally ate the dust of Craig ...
Skaife searching for maiden win in Perth after the perfect start
May 7 2005 - Mark Skaife took first blood at a circuit he is yet to win an event at as V8 Supercar Championship Series champion Marcos Ambrose literally ate the dust of Craig Lowndes in race on of the Perth V8 Challenge in Perth today.
A dramatic close to the first of three races at the event ended in Skaife recording a well deserved win in race one over Ambrose with Steven Richards limping home with smoke billowing out of his engine to take third.
"It's the third time I've won the first race (of three) here so now I've got to make sure I win a few more tomorrow," Skaife said. "It's certainly going to tough in race two and three tomorrow, we all know that."
As he is making an annoying habit of for rivals, Ambrose led virtually from the start despite pole sitter Lowndes getting to the first corner in the ace position.
He might have taken the start his lead lasted less than the first lap when Ambrose flexed the muscles and brute speed with a great pass. Ambrose then forfeited the lead by taking his compulsory pit stop at the first opportunity.
A subsequent safety car and a Lowndes dive into the pits restored Ambrose' lead. Lowndes, on the safety car after Todd Kelly found the sand, lost a place during the stop to Skaife, returning in third.
Kelly's spill after a dice with Greg Murphy ended his race. He had to be towed to the infield as a result of the damage with virtually snapped his front axle. Murphy also dropped from 8th to 18th and then fought back into fifth.
"We really got out of jail on that one," Murphy said. "We were pretty lucky that we even finished to be honest."
The action was up front when 11 laps from home Lowndes inexplicably left the track by missing the first corner. He drove straight through 30m of sand, somehow skirted the outfield and got back on the track, dumping a full load of soil as he did.
It was that very soil that virtually gave Skaife victory. On the next lap Ambrose slipped on the loose dirt leaving a gaping hole for Skaife to get through. Another safety car a lap later gave Ambrose some hope to get his rival back.
"I was going flat out with a river of sand across the track," Ambrose said. "The first bloke to cross it was always going to be the unlucky one and that was me. I saw it all there, I was winning the race, and I just couldn't do anything about it."
Skaife pounced on the opportunity as any driver would while Ambrose did a great job to keep his car on bitumen as he grappled with all but no grip.
"It was so slippery, just like racing on a rally track," Skaife said. "It was there for everyone to see and unfortunately for Marcos a little mistake cost him."
Lowndes finished 21st in the race, another unfortunate day out for the former champion who has had some very costly bad luck in the first three rounds.