SBR drivers shine in V8 Supercars at Eastern Creek. Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose has stormed into fourth place in the V8 Supercar Championship Series with an outright second placing in his Pirtek Falcon in round three at Eastern Creek...
SBR drivers shine in V8 Supercars at Eastern Creek.
Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose has stormed into fourth place in the V8 Supercar Championship Series with an outright second placing in his Pirtek Falcon in round three at Eastern Creek Raceway today.
Ambrose's SBR teammate David Besnard also improved his position in the title chase with another confidence-building effort in his Caltex Havoline Ford.
Ambrose and Besnard started their weekend charge by qualifying second and ninth respectively and then finishing second and 7th in the opening 13-lap race late yesterday afternoon.
In the opening race today Ambrose slotted into second place behind championship leader Mark Skaife and pushed him for a lot of the contest, but to no avail - despite closing the gap to just over a second in the mid-stages of the race.
Craig Lowndes and Ambrose both managed to get by Skaife off the line this afternoon's third race and a titanic battle was to eventuate.
Ambrose had a problem with a sticking throttle on lap 22 and eventually let Garth Tander into the fight at the front of the field.
Lowndes slipped off the track at the exit of turn one on lap 32 and allowed Skaife to take back the lead and collect a weekend clean sweep.
Skaife won the day overall with 240 points from Ambrose (170), Lowndes (139) and Tander (119).
"The first race today was certainly a pretty tough run and I was going as hard as I could," said Ambrose. "We scrubbed a front tyre and that hurt us bit as we tried to chase Skaife down.
"These races just seem to get tougher and the third race was a good example, it was a cracker.
"In the end I just bought it home to make sure we finished on the podium.
"I think we have come a long way a as a team in a short amount of time.
"Good days and races will come and Mark (Skaife) will be second, but he just had too much car speed for us in the second race."
Besnard made a fantastic start and jumped from seventh to fifth for the opening part of the first race today.
He was seventh after he made his compulsory pit stop on lap 13, but unfortunately a wheel escaped the team during the stop and rolled into pit lane.
Besnard was given a "drive through" penalty for the incident and slipped back as far as 26th before fighting his way back through to 19th.
In the second race today he made up some good early spots, but his chances to battle on deteriorated after his mandatory pit stop in which he had to put badly worn tyres back on his car.
"We continued to make some good gains over the weekend, unfortunately the wheel getting away cost us," said Besnard. "The first part of the opening race today was very good, but I had to push too hard after my 'drive through' penalty and that damaged the tyres.
"We made some good ground in today's second race, but we had to put the ordinary tyres from the opening race back on the car and we just could not continue to make as much ground as we had.
"There are so many elements to being successful in this series now and I think we have almost all of them. It's just a matter of getting all in the pot at the same time.
"The team and I know we can get the Caltex Havoline Ford on the podium."
Besnard finished 11th overall for the weekend with 55 championship points. He has jumped from 22nd to 17th in the points' standings.
Wayne Gardner watched the weekend from the commentary box after failing to qualify for the weekend's action by just 0.17 of s second on Friday.
Gardner will return for the next round of the V8 Supercar Championship in his #36 Caltex Havoline Ford at Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway on May 17-19.