Clipsal: SBR Saturday report

SBR CARS FINISH 1-2 IN CLIPSAL 500 OPENER Stone Brothers Racing picked up from where it left off in 2004 when Marcos Ambrose and Russell Ingall finished a strong 1-2 in the opening round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at the Clipsal 500...

SBR CARS FINISH 1-2 IN CLIPSAL 500 OPENER

Stone Brothers Racing picked up from where it left off in 2004 when Marcos Ambrose and Russell Ingall finished a strong 1-2 in the opening round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide today.

The pair started second and fourth on the grid, but were 1-2 by the third corner of the opening lap and were never really headed all day.

Ambrose, the two-time and defending V8 Supercar champion, led the race from start to finish in his Pirtek Falcon and Ingall applied pressure all the way in his Caltex Ford.

Craig Lowndes finished third in the Triple Eight Team Betta Electrical Falcon, which also runs an engine prepared by SBR. Steve Johnson finished fourth to give Ford its first ever 1-2-3-4 on the streets of Adelaide.

Ingall stopped on lap 20 for tyres and was soon followed by Ambrose. The team then made a call to get both cars back in just a lap later for their compulsory fuel stops and this proved a terrific move as the first of four safety car periods began.

On lap 44 Ingall passed Johnson, who had also made two early stops, for second place and a great fight between the two SBR drivers was set-up to the chequered flag.

There were three more safety car periods in the last 31 laps of the race, but Ambrose and Ingall managed to get away from their opposition on each re-start.

There were 11 clear laps to the finish and Ambrose beat Ingall home by 0.83 of a second.

"What a great car. What a great day," said Ambrose.

"That was one of the hardest races I have ever had. I think we did our fastest lap with seven races to go and Russell (Ingall) pushed me all the way.

"I have said since my announcement about leaving the series at the end of the year for NASCAR, that I am totally focused on trying to win a third title for SBR, Ford, Pirtek and the fans this season.

"Hopefully this gives a pretty good idea of how focused I am.

"I think this is a fantastic era for everyone involved and I am just proud to be a part of it.

"This is the third season for my car and it is still doing the job. There is no reason to change a good thing."

Ingall, who finished third in the opening Clipsal 500 event last year, was happy to improve one spot today, but intends to go a further one better tomorrow.

"You can't be disappointed with that," said Ingall.

"Let's face it, I am racing the best driver in the category and it was great to push him all the way.

"We got held up a little with our fuel stop because we came in behind Marcos, but at the end of the day that did not matter because of the amount of safety car periods through the race.

"It was spooky how similar mine and Marcos' cars were. I would see him have a slide at one corner and then my car would do the same thing.

"I think it has taken a couple of years to get my head around driving these Falcons and I think I am definitely driving it better.

"I would like both SBR cars to be 1-2 tomorrow, but in the reverse order."

-sbr-

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Series Supercars
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Russell Ingall , Craig Lowndes , Steve Johnson