Ford's Marcos Ambrose became only the second rookie to claim pole position for an endurance race at Bathurst's Mt Panorama when he topped the time sheets this morning for tomorrow's V8 Supercar 1000. Ambrose, born and bred in Tasmania and who...
Ford's Marcos Ambrose became only the second rookie to claim pole position for an endurance race at Bathurst's Mt Panorama when he topped the time sheets this morning for tomorrow's V8 Supercar 1000.
Ambrose, born and bred in Tasmania and who now lives on the Gold Coast, set a blistering time of 2:09.7785 around the 6.213km circuit to edge out Ford Tickford Racing's Glenn Seton (2:09.9804) and Castrol Holden driver Russell Ingall (2:09.9912).
Just 11th in yesterday's qualifying session, Ambrose was the fifth driver to complete his one-lap dash today and his time could not be beaten by some of the more fancied and much more experienced competitors. Ironically, the shootout concept changed from a top 10 to top 15 this year and if previous rules had been in place, Ambrose would not have even had a chance to have a go at a pole time.
The only other rookie to start from pole was Klaus Ludwig in a Ford Sierra RS5000 back in 1987 the only race at Mt Panorama which counted as part of the old World Touring Car Championship.
The increase of speed at Mt Panorama over the last 13 years is evident when you consider that Ludwig's pole time of 2:16.96 was 7.19 seconds slower than Ambrose's time yesterday.
"That was one of the biggest laps of my life," said Ambrose.
"I had to dig deep. I knew I have to find some speed from somewhere. I just put my head into gear and focused on the lap.
"I was a little bit messy across the top. Every lap I feel more comfortable and every session we improve something on the car."
The effort from Ambrose moved him and co-driver Wakefield from 25/1 to 7/1 on the NSW TAB. On Friday afternoon the pair was at 34/1.
Jason Bright went into the shootout as the favourite after setting the fastest ever lap around Mt Panorama of 2:08.7630 in the earlier unofficial warm-up session in his Holden Racing Team Commodore.
The 1998 race winner will start from fourth place on the grid after admitting to two mistakes during his hot lap at Griffins Bend and McPhillamy Park.
"The lap was certainly disappointing after the warm-up lap," said Bright.
"I am lucky to be fourth after the mistake I made. In fact, I am probably lucky to have a car."
Bright's teammate Mark Skaife will start fifth on the grid and admitted that his crew has a little bit of homework to do before tomorrow's race start at 10am. <pre>
TOP 15 SHOOTOUT QUALIFYING 1: Marcos Ambrose/Wayne Wakefield Ford 2:09.7785 2: Glenn Seton/Steve Richards Ford 2:09.9804 3: Russell Ingall/Larry Perkins Holden 2:09.9912 4: Jason Bright/Tomas Mezera Holden 2:10.1178 5: Mark Skaife/Tony Longhurst Ford 2:10.1599 6: Steve Johnson/Paul Radisich Ford 2:10.3538 7: John Bowe/Simon Wills Ford 2:10.4338 8: Steve Ellery/Geoff Brabham Ford 2:10.4735 9: Garth Tander/Jason Bargwanna Holden 2:10.4999 10: Jim Richards/Dean Canto Ford - 2:10:5180 11: Todd Kelly/Greg Murphy Holden 2:10.8654 12: Craig Lowndes/Neil Crompton Ford 2:11.0141 13: Greg Ritter/Matthew White Ford 2:11.2323 14: Paul Morris/Ashley Stichbury Holden 2:11.3743 15: Paul Weel/Tim Leahey Ford 2:11:5767