BARBAGALLO RACEWAY -- A LAP WITH MARCOS AMBROSE After a couple of years of trying, Barbagallo was finally kind to me last year. In the past, the surface of the track has been very abrasive, but that should certainly be different this year ...
BARBAGALLO RACEWAY -- A LAP WITH MARCOS AMBROSE
After a couple of years of trying, Barbagallo was finally kind to me last year.
In the past, the surface of the track has been very abrasive, but that should certainly be different this year because of the recent re-sealing. While saying that, there will always be some level of sand on the track - especially on windy days.
The track really offers a bit of everything with tight, hard-braking corners and a 250km-plus straight -- the fact that you actually disappear over the hill also adds plenty of suspense for the crowd.
You head over the start finish line in fifth gear at around 200kph, but your mind is filled with what you are going to do at turn one.
This right-hander is very flat and it is easy to lock a wheel -- any mistake and you can end up bogged in the sand on the outside of the corner. This corner is always pretty spectacular on the opening lap of any race.
This is one big right-hander which shoots you into a sequence of quick left and rights -- you are constantly bouncing off the kerbs setting yourself up for the sweeping left-hander up the hill, pulling a couple of gears as you go.
The left hander is a sweeping double apex up the hill which you basically tackle in third gear.
It is then a short change to fourth as you reach the brow of the hill before turning the car right.
The trick is to carry car speed through here. The track narrows up on the way out and you tend to run off the circuit.
You then race down the hill and set yourself up for the right-hand loop -- this is heavily cambered to the inside and is much faster than you think.
It is important to get through here without locking a wheel and get on the gas as early as possible for the run up over the hill.
Timing is everything here because the rear of the car tends to get away on you if you get on the power too early.
You race up over the hill and hit sixth gear and around 250km just over the rise before getting on the brakes about half way down the straight.
This is a really aggressive stop because you start a gradual climb as you approach the final corner.
Any mistake here and you are into the gravel on the outside of the turn.
It is vital not to hit the kerb on the inside, but it is equally important to bounce off the outside kerb to straighten up the car for the run down pit straight and back into turn one. A good lap used to take you just over 57 seconds and was one of the quickest laps in the championship - what will it be with the resurfacing? - that's anyone's guess at this stage.
THOUGHTS ON BARBAGALLO--..
MARCOS AMBROSE -- PIRTEK RACING
This is a track which I had struggled on constantly until last year when we finally turned it all around and collected the winner's trophy. The weekend at Barbagallo is always a long one, but the massive crowd makes the trip worthwhile. It would be great if I could claim back-to-back wins.
MOST MEMOR ABLE MOMENT
In 1997 I was in Formula Ford and I was in a qualifying session. I was sitting in about 18th and was just cruising around trying to get a tow. My pit crew thought I was just mucking around, because there is no radio communication, and the next thing I knew my lap board came flying over the pit wall at me while I was on the track. Ironically, that lap was my fastest of the day.
RUSSELL INGALL -- CALTEX HAVOLINE RACING
I have always had a strong fan base in WA and that obviously makes the trip worthwhile. The track is a very good design and undulating. It is going to be very interesting with the new surface -- I think it is going to be a cracker! It would be great to celebrate my 100th round start with a win in WA.
One year I did what NASCAR drivers say to do and hit everything, including the pace car. I had clipped a wall and was reversing back on to the track, but did not realise the pace car was behind me. I was also leaving the track one Saturday night when some naked guy came running out of the camping area beside the track and tried to hand me a can of VB.