Clipsal: Friday qualifying report

Murphy keeps Holden in front at first race in Adelaide Kiwi flier Greg Murphy balanced a mixed day for Holden when veteran Mark Skaife found himself out of a top 10 in a race for the first time in almost four years at today's opening round of...

Murphy keeps Holden in front at first race in Adelaide

Kiwi flier Greg Murphy balanced a mixed day for Holden when veteran Mark Skaife found himself out of a top 10 in a race for the first time in almost four years at today's opening round of the V8 Supercar Championship series in Adelaide.

Skaife has missed a Top 10 shootout just four times in 46 races since the fastest lap concept was introduced in 2001. For the first time in the history of the shootout the Holden Racing Team does not have a car in the Top 10.

He will start from 13th on the grid in tomorrow's first race of the season over 250km. His HRT team-mate Todd Kelly starts the race in 14th behind the former champion.

Murphy took pole position following the Top 10 shootout to decide who starts at the front of the grid for tomorrow's first race.

Five-time Skaife was at a loss to explain why HRT didn't perform up to expectations saying his car felt like it was up to speed but didn't bring home the goods. His team-mate Todd Kelly felt the same way.

In contrast, Ford's Marcos Ambrose tore the Adelaide circuit apart with the fastest lap recorded in a Clipsal 500 event during the earlier qualifying. In the shootout soon after he managed third behind Murphy and Jason Bright.

It follows a similar pattern from the non-championship event at the Australian Grand Prix where Murphy and Bright dominated in Melbourne. Ambrose was the star non-podium performer in the final Melbourne race.

"It goes to show, you just can't guarantee anything in the shootout," Ambrose said, "I wasn't as hot as I was in qualifying, I lost a little bit of confidence with the car. It's fair to say I'd like to do that lap again.

"We are going great, we were quick at the Grand Prix without getting a result, and we are just trying to enjoy this year for what it is. We will be as quick tomorrow as we were in qualifying. "

Murphy was surprised his "hot lap" became the best of the shootout.

"I didn't think I did a good enough in a couple of spots, coming onto the finish straight I missed the apex and I thought that would have cost a bit, but fortunately we had a bit up our sleeve," Murphy said.

"There were seven guys who were faster in qualifying. I don't know why any of the others couldn't go any faster - I was sure Marcos would. I wasn't happy with the lap, but I am happy with the result."

Jason Bright also made big gains in the shootout, jumping from ninth in qualifying to second with an error riddled lap he didn't rate very highly.

"I wasn't happy with that lap at all, I called the guys in the pits after the lap and apologised," Bright said.

"I think that is the worst shootout lap I have ever done. We were having a little bit of trouble with the brakes in practice, and we sorted that out and it gave us a little bit of improvement for qualifying."

Veteran John Bowe was fifth in the black OzEmail Falcon, the 49-year-old enjoying his first press conference in Adelaide since the days the Formula One Grand Prix were held here.

"It was a fairly good lap. I was a bit careful in the first chicane because I was penalised for putting all four wheels over the kerbs there, so I was pretty happy," Bowe said.

Garth Tander was fifth, carrying on his form from the Grand Prix, setting a good time in the Repco Valvoline Cummins Commodore.

"That lap was pretty good in the first two sectors but then I went in too deep in the hairpin and dumped a bit of time, I think we would have got a high 22 and moved up a couple of spots , so I'm a bit dark about that," Tander said.

The top 10 was rounded out by Max Wilson, Russell Ingall, Steve Ellery, Paul Radisich and Simon Wills who had a minor spin that nearly ended in disaster.

Both Tony Longhurst and Mark Winterbottom crashed their new cars this morning and missed qualifying. Both are expected to run tomorrow.

The first leg of the Clipsal 500 will be run tomorrow afternoon, with the final race on Sunday to decide who wins the event.

<pre> Top 10 Shootout Results 1. Greg Murphy Kmart Commodore 1m22.4627s 2. Jason Bright PWR Commodore 1m22.9629s 3. Marcos Ambrose Pirtek Falcon 1m23.0463s 4. John Bowe OzEmail Falcon 1m23.0659s 5. Garth Tander Repco Valvoline Cummins Commodore 2m00.861s 6. Max Wilson Betta Electrical Triple 8 Falcon 1m23.5284s 7. Russell Ingall Caltex Havoline Falcon 1m23.6547s 8. Steve Ellery Super Cheap Falcon 1m23.7380s 9. Paul Radisich Betta Electrical Triple 8 Falcon 1m24.0422s 10. Simon Wills Team Dynamik Commodore 1m28.3956

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Max Wilson , Garth Tander , Marcos Ambrose , Jason Bright , Greg Murphy , Russell Ingall , Paul Radisich , John Bowe , Todd Kelly , Simon Wills , Mark Winterbottom , Tony Longhurst
Teams Holden Racing Team