Close, But No Cigar For Stone Brothers Racing In Adelaide Pirtek Ford driver Marcos Ambrose was denied a certain podium finish in the second leg of the Clipsal 500 on the streets of Adelaide today when a heat exchanger failed just 10 laps from...
Close, But No Cigar For Stone Brothers Racing In Adelaide
Pirtek Ford driver Marcos Ambrose was denied a certain podium finish in the second leg of the Clipsal 500 on the streets of Adelaide today when a heat exchanger failed just 10 laps from home.
Ambrose was the last driver in the field to make a compulsory pit stop for tyres on lap 53 of the 78-lap race and rejoined the field in 11th place during a safety car period in the opening round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series.
He used his new tyres and race pace to mow down the opposition and was in position four on the tail of Steve Richards when his car started to smoke and finally stopped on the back straight on lap 68.
Caltex Havoline Ford drivers Wayne Gardner and David Besnard battled some of the toughest conditions of their careers to score points in the second leg.
Both drivers battled oversteer problems for the majority of the race, which was run in 35-degree temperatures on the challenging 3.22km street circuit, and came home in 15th and 22nd place respectively.
"There is certainly no doubt that was one of toughest races I have ever competed in physically," said Ambrose, who finished fourth in yesterday's opening race.
"This weekend was all about getting as many points as possible, so from that perspective it was pretty disappointing for us, but it was not a total loss.
"We got some points yesterday and I think we showed we had reasonable car speed all weekend and will be competitive for the rest of the season.
"We really pushed on towards the end there and I think we could have at least finished on the podium.
"The Stone Brothers team did a great job on the stops considering we had three cars here this weekend
Gardner worked his way through from the back row of the grid after crashing out on lap three of yesterday's race when he spun in some fluid from Paul Radisich's car.
The 1987 500cc motorcycle world champion, made up more places than any other driver in the race to finish with 36 championship points.
"I really struggled with oversteer for most of the race and could never really get into a rhythm, "said Gardner, who us driving select races for Stone Brothers Racing this year.
"We just battled away all day and I really used the race as a big testing session.
"I played with everything in the car and really discovered some things about the Falcon which should help us in our remaining races this year. In fact I have almost found a whole new direction for us.
"It was certainly a long, long way out there in today's heat, but we finally got home and put some points in the bank.
"I am looking forward to getting back in the car at Eastern Creek at the end of next month."
Gardner started the afternoon on a casual note when he was visited in the Stone Brothers Racing garage by fellow former world champion Mick Doohan who was at the race as a spectator.
Besnard was on target for at least a top 10 finish when his car developed power problems and he was forced to nurse it for the last 18-odd laps his patience helped salvage 22 championship points.
"I managed to get the car home, but it could have been much better for us," said Besnard.
"Like Wayne (Gardner), I battled oversteer most of the day and things certainly became worse with the tyre wear.
"We just kept chipping away and chipping away and actually got into the top 10 at one stage. Just after that I had a similar loss of power to yesterday and really had no choice other than nurse the car home.
"It's not a great feeling have guys rush by you, but I had to salvage some points.
"I don't think the result over the weekend gave a true indication of what we will be capable of this season."
* An overnight investigation into the final placings in yesterday's opening leg of the Clipsal 500 after a pace car mix-upwas dismissed by CAMS officials and final placings stand.