HIGHS AND LOWS FOR SBR AT BATHURST Stone Brothers Racing experienced the highs and lows a 1000km race at Bathurst's Mt Panorama can offer in a controversial Super Cheap Auto 1000 today -- round 10 of the V8 Supercar Championship...
HIGHS AND LOWS FOR SBR AT BATHURST
Stone Brothers Racing experienced the highs and lows a 1000km race at Bathurst's Mt Panorama can offer in a controversial Super Cheap Auto 1000 today -- round 10 of the V8 Supercar Championship Series.
Marcos Ambrose and Warren Luff were out of the race on lap 144 of the 161-lap classic after an accident on the entry to The Cutting which eliminated five cars.
The result now means than Russell Ingall leads the championship for the first time since Mallala in 1998, while Ambrose has lost the title lead for the first time since Sandown 2004.
Points from the final three rounds of the championship all count towards the title with Ingall now having a slight two-point lead 1488 to 1486.
The major controversy came on lap 104 when Ambrose was given a drive through penalty because Luff was spotted not wearing a required balaclava after removing his helmet after his double stint.
After some discussion it was discovered that Ambrose was also not wearing a balaclava and that he would stop out of sequence on lap 121 and put one on.
A safety car fell the team's way and Ambrose pitted on lap 142 for his final stop and at the re-start he was in fifth position.
The first time into turn two Greg Murphy got wide and Ambrose had the momentum to get past him. Going into the left hander into The Cutting Murphy drove into the side of the Pirtek Falcon badly damaging both cars and blocking the track.
While the Pirtek car suffered a lot of damage team co-owner Ross Stone says that the car can be fixed in time for the next round of the championship on the streets of the Gold Coast in a fortnight's time.
Ingall picked up several positions after surviving the accident with not much more than damage to his rear bumper. He charged on to pick up a couple of more spots to finish fifth.
Ingall is chasing his maiden V8 Supercar title after being runner-up four times, including last year to Ambrose.
The Caltex car was kept in the race with an impressive double stint by Youlden.
Today's race was won by Mark Skaife and Todd Kelly from Jason Richards and Jamie Whincup and Steve Ellery and Adam Macrow.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY--.
RUSSELL INGALL -- CALTEX RACING
"What a day," said Ingall.
"I guess today's race really showed just how it can throw so many things at you in space of a few hours.
"It is never easy handing over your car to a co-driver, especially when the championship is on the line, but Luke did a real solid job.
"I managed to pull up before the accident on lap 144 and then got tagged right at the end. You have to wonder where some of these guys are looking.
"There is no doubt that I am happy to be leading the championship, especially heading into the last three rounds of the season at tracks that I enjoy.
"Two points is not much of a break, but it's better than being 58 points behind which was the case before this weekend.
"We just need to focus more than ever from now on to ensure we collect the title."
LUKE YOULDEN -- CALTEX RACING
"I think to finish fifth was a pretty good result for us today, although we certainly could be been on the podium with a little more luck," said Youlden.
"The aim today was to ensure Russell was still in the championship hunt after lap 161 and now he leads it by a couple of points.
"I was happy with my job. The boys wanted me to go out there and do high 0.9s or low 10s and we did that consistently.
"It has been awesome to be a part of the Caltex team, not just at the endurance races, but all year. It would be great if we could continue the relationship in the future."
MARCOS AMBROSE -- PIRTEK RACING
"What do I say? -- not much I guess," said Ambrose.
"We had a pretty quick car all day and really had a chance to win the race.
"The balaclava deal is frustrating and confusing and really put us behind the eight-ball.
"A safety car fell for us late in the race and I had the chance to run for at least a podium.
"Murphy made a mistake coming out of turn two and I had the momentum on him. He had a chance to avoid the accident and did not.
"The car is in pretty ordinary shape and I really feel for the boys who have worked so hard this weekend and now have plenty of work to do before Indy in two weeks time.
"It was a luxury to have the points break that we did heading into this race and now we trail by a couple points to Russell. I guess we are going to have a cracking run to the title."
WARREN LUFF -- PIRTEK RACING
"Despite all the drama it was amazing that we were still a shot at a podium before the accident on lap 144," said Luff.
"Not to finish the race considering the car speed we had and Marcos' efforts after the drive through is obviously disappointing.
"I have to thank Ross and Jimmy Stone for the opportunity this year, unfortunately we did not get the result today to reward the effort that was put in."