Clipsal: Friday race report

Lowndes goes along for the ride with Ambrose and Ingall Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose and Russell Ambrose delivered more of the same and, indirectly, Craig Lowndes to his first podium since Bathurst last year in the first race of the...

Lowndes goes along for the ride with Ambrose and Ingall

Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose and Russell Ambrose delivered more of the same and, indirectly, Craig Lowndes to his first podium since Bathurst last year in the first race of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide today.

The first two finishers in last year's series started the year in the same order with Ambrose opening his assault on two straight wins in Adelaide, Ingall finishing second and Lowndes third in front of a massive record Saturday crowd of 78,400.

A deal that sees the SBR Team and Lowndes' new team Betta Electrical share engines means Lowndes may be over his recent blues. Essentially whatever hardware Ambrose or Ingall has under the bonnet, Lowndes shares through the deal between the two teams.

"The whole package is really settling in and so am I," said Lowndes, the inaugural winner of the Clipsal 500 in 1999.

"It's a great result for us. We had to pick our opportunities and stay out of trouble which we managed to do and come up with the result."

Lowndes started seventh on the grid and picked off his rivals. But he was unable to catch Ingall and Ambrose who got lightning starts and were able to win the battle of the strategists in a race that claimed many victims on the hot Adelaide street circuit.

Ambrose said the win enforced his commitment to the V8 Supercar Championship Series following his decision to take a chance on racing in America next year.

"I really am focused on making a full assault on the V8 Supercar Championship this year," Ambrose said.

"I was Ford and my fans to have three straight win in this series. If the cards don't fall our way so be it, I just want to make sure I give us a chance."

Ambrose was primed for the start which he had practiced mentally the night before. It is an area of great strength for Ambrose who jumped pole sitter Rick Kelly on the grid. Ingall did likewise.

"I can't be dissatisfied with that," Ingall said.

"Let's face it, we are up against the best driver in the category by a long shot so for me to stick on his tail the whole way like I did means it's a pretty good day.

"This race sets up the whole year and the way it is feeling everything is looking good."

There was a lot of carnage on the tight circuit, the worst of which Lowndes' Steve Ellery who smashed into the wall at high speed, moving the massive concrete barrier some 50 centimetres after appearing to lose his steering.

Jason Bargwanna was also a casualty when he hit a wall at around 200 kilometres an hour suffering severe damage to his Orrcon Falcon.

-avesco-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Rick Kelly , Craig Lowndes , Jason Bargwanna