The following is a detailed lap of the Eastern Creek circuit to be used as the venue for the final round of the 2004 V8 Supercar Championship Series this weekend. Also find following thoughts, results and memorable moments relating to this venue...
The following is a detailed lap of the Eastern Creek circuit to be used as the venue for the final round of the 2004 V8 Supercar Championship Series this weekend. Also find following thoughts, results and memorable moments relating to this venue from both Pirtek Racing's Marcos Ambrose and Caltex Racing's Russell Ingall.
* Marcos Ambrose can clinch back-to-back championships in his Pirtek Falcon this weekend if he finishes no more than 14 places behind Greg Murphy in any of the three races.
* Network Ten will show Saturday night's race in prime time for the first time - the telecast will be from 6pm-7.30pm
* Russell Ingall currently sits fourth in the championship, but is very capable of finishing second in his Caltex Falcon - If Ambrose clinches the championship this would give Stone Brothers Racing a rare 1-2 series finish
* In five previous round appearances at Eastern Creek Ambrose has only qualified off the front row once and has never finished worse than seventh overall. In his nine race starts he has never finished worse than 13th
* Russell Ingall is coming off a high after winning the last round at Symmons Plains in Tasmania
EASTERN CREEK -- A LAP WITH MARCOS AMBROSE
As you cross the start finish line half way down the long main straight, you are doing around 270kph, but you are already starting to set yourself up for the fast left hander which is turn one. The straight actually continues down into the start of the drag strip and as you turn left you actually feel like you are heading down a side road in fourth gear. That is actually a bit of an illusion because the track widens up as you go through the corner. It is then into the left-hand hairpin which is actually fairly long and wide, but still a first-gear corner. There are two or three different lines through here, depending on how your car is working. There is a rise on the exit, which makes the car quite light and easy to spin the rear wheels.
It is then up to the quick right-hander, building speed as you go. Initially the car is well settled, but by the time the corner is over you are doing around 160kph and the car squirms because of the speed you have carried through it.
You then go down the short back straight and over a rise where the wheels leave the ground and the car becomes very light, this is a bit of fun. It is then into a quick down change to a right and left-hander which you treat as one.
Out the left hander and you are into a technical part of the track with a series of left and right handers before getting to another hairpin -- There are another 10 gear changes before reaching this point. This is tricky because the road drops away. If you carry too much speed you will just not make the inside apex. I think this is where Mick Doohan and Alex Barros came off in a GP a few years ago.
You then shoot up to the last corner where you need to take the late apex to come on to the straight and have a straight line as soon as possible. You need to get on to the power early and drag top gear immediately. The downhill run helps.
If everything goes to plan you should clock a lap around the one minute and 31-second mark.
THOUGHTS ON EASTERN CREEK--..
MARCOS AMBROSE -- PIRTEK RACING
Eastern Creek is a frustrating track because whenever you ever drive on it, it feels like you should be going the other way. All the corners over the back all have kinks before the entry, which makes it difficult to pass. While saying that, it is safe, wide and has good amenities for the fans and the teams, so I actually enjoy going there. It is a little extra special after finally breaking HRT's grip on the track last season.
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT
There is no doubt that the most memorable moment at Eastern Creek came for me last season when I finally lifted up that championship trophy. Eastern Creek had been an HRT circuit for sometime, so it was nice to win there in May and then wrap-up the championship on such a dramatic weekend that really had everything -- including a massive downpour at the end of the race, which took out a lot of the power at the circuit.
RUSSELL INGALL -- CALTEX RACING
Eastern Creek is a little bit like Phillip Island in that if you have a dog of a car it is not a nice place to be. Considering it is not one of my favourite circuits I always have reasonable results there. It is not a hard track to win on if you have the right toy to play with.
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT
While it was neither a proud moment for either of us, obviously the incident between myself and Mark Skaife in the final round last year was certainly a memorable one -- but one I would rather forget.