Clipsal: Stone Brothers Racing qualifying report

Marcos Ambrose To Start Third As Leading Ford In Adelaide Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose will start as the leading Ford in the opening 250km leg of the Clipsal 500 on the streets of Adelaide tomorrow. Ambrose again proved himself as a...

Marcos Ambrose To Start Third As Leading Ford In Adelaide

Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose will start as the leading Ford in the opening 250km leg of the Clipsal 500 on the streets of Adelaide tomorrow.

Ambrose again proved himself as a "shootout" specialist when he drove his Pirtek Falcon on to the second row of the grid behind the Holden Racing Team's Mark Skaife and Jason Bright this afternoon.

Ambrose was 12th after official qualifying, but improved dramatically in his one-lap dash to jump nine positions to third reducing his time from one minute and 23.2154 seconds to 1:23.1792.

The effort almost matched his performance at last year's V8 Supercar 1000 at Bathurst when he went from 11th position to pole reducing his time from 2:10.9040 to 2:09.7785 on that occasion.

"It was a good clean lap," said Ambrose. "I think I could have pushed it a little harder and maybe put it on the front row, but I don't think we could have gotten to the pole time. "The team definitely made some moves in the right direction between sessions. "The theory is to stay out of trouble early on tomorrow and obviously as close to the front as possible."

Ambrose will share row two with Garth Tander, while the second-fastest Ford in the field sits in fifth driven by Brazilian rookie, Max Wilson.

Ambrose had some interesting comments in the post-qualifying press conference about the dominance of HRT in recent V8 Supercar Championships.

"There is definitely nothing wrong with the Falcon," said Ambrose. "We can match HRT on any given day, but we need to be more consistent. "It is more a team issue and a driver issue and I think all the Ford teams are working towards being number one."

Caltex Havoline Ford drivers Wayne Gardner and David Besnard have plenty of work to do in tomorrow's opening race.

The Stone Brothers Racing teammates struggled with their set-ups in qualifying and will start 23rd and 24th respectively - just 0.002 of a second separating them.

Gardner set a time of one minute and 23.6512 seconds, while Besnard clocked a 1:23.6532 lap around the challenging 3.22km circuit.

The results meant that both drivers obviously missed the top 15 shootout.

Gardner was looking forward to official qualifying after being 12th in the opening practice session and then improving to position six on new tyres in the second session.

"I actually thought the car felt OK, but we lost speed somewhere," said Gardner. "I locked the fronts (brakes) a couple of times on good laps which cost me a little time. "I think we have to have a serious look at things overnight and make sure we have the package that is going to get us through the race and finishing in a reasonable position."

David Besnard was 16th after the second practice session, but was confident of qualifying in the top 15 because he had not used a new set of tyres in the earlier run.

"We just missed the set-up," said Besnard. "We made a few little changes, but nothing that had enough effect. "I got a clean lap, but could not go any faster than a 23.6. "I thought we had a car that could put us a lot closer to the front, but I had trouble getting the car into the corners. "It is going to be a long weekend and we now have to look at our strategy to ensure we get through tomorrow's race unscathed and are all straight for Sunday's race which is worth even more points."

The only major incident of the day involved Ford driver Paul Radisich who badly damaged his Falcon in the second practice session after hitting both the inside and outside walls on the back part of the circuit.

Radisich escaped with some minor bruising, but neither him or his car were capable of starting qualifying and he will start tomorrow's opening race from the rear of the grid.

Greg Murphy did not manage a time in the shootout after clipping a wall early in his one-lap dash.

There will be a 250km race tomorrow and another on Sunday both starting at 2.30pm EDST. (1.30pm in Queensland and 2pm in South Australia).

Websites
For all your latest Caltex Havoline Racing news please log on to caltex.com.au or to stonebrothersracing.com.au

-sbr-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Max Wilson , David Besnard , Garth Tander , Marcos Ambrose , Jason Bright , Greg Murphy , Wayne Gardner , Mark Skaife , Paul Radisich