Eastern Creek: Saturday qualifying report

Lowndes pole hat-trick sets up battle with Skaife Team Betta Electrical's Craig Lowndes has scored his third pole position in succession, dominating this afternoon's Top 10 Shootout at round four of the 2005 V8 Supercar Championship Series at ...

Lowndes pole hat-trick sets up battle with Skaife

Team Betta Electrical's Craig Lowndes has scored his third pole position in succession, dominating this afternoon's Top 10 Shootout at round four of the 2005 V8 Supercar Championship Series at Eastern Creek Raceway in Sydney.

Lowndes' pole position sets up an interesting battle tomorrow with Holden Racing Team's Mark Skaife, who qualified second and current Series leader Marcos Ambrose who sits behind him on the grid in third.

Ambrose has tangled with both Lowndes and Skaife at the start in the previous two rounds and will again be trying to get into the mix at the first corner in race one tomorrow.

For Lowndes though, the battle is in front of him to convert his third season pole position into a meaningful result.

"I'd like to get some race victories, while it is nice being on pole we haven't made the most of our speed yet," Lowndes said.

"We made a few small mistakes bit nothing major, and that is what you need in the Shootout. Pole is satisfying because it means you have done well enough over one lap, but it isn't a race win.

"Roland (Team Owner Roland Dane) said the team had never got a pole position this year, he never said anything about race wins.

"We have had speed but our race package has just not been good enough, and that is what we have been working on today and at our test session last week."

Skaife said his car today was pretty good after topping qualifying, but his lap in the Shootout just wasn't good enough for pole.

"It certainly wasn't the best lap I've ever done around here, but having said that the struggle for us this weekend is that putting green tyres on it just hasn't been gripping up enough," Skaife said, before saying his biggest battle for the weekend was to get off the line well, something he hasn't managed this season.

"It's really complex, they are really difficult cars to get away. When the grip is high our car gets away well, but when it is low it either bogs down or gets wheelspin.

"And the hard thing here is that the start line is facing downhill, so just as you let the clutch out a little it starts rolling -- I've been pinged here a couple of times for a jumped start.

"But you can only do your very best, and I'm going to exactly what we have been doing in our test day and hope it works well here."

Ambrose said he was looking to get into the mix after missing the front row for the first time this year, and said his recent run-ins with officialdom would not change his style or desire to win races.

"The last couple of races off the front row haven't worked out so good, so who knows, maybe this is a good thing," Ambrose said. "It was a good lap, but you can't get pole position every time.

"Our car is very consistent, and we've just got to get a good start and see what we can do. My whole career I've done the same thing, I drive on instinct, and to change my style now I don't think is the right thing.

"I will drive exactly the same as I have in the past."

Last round winner, Steve Richards will start alongside Ambrose in fourth spot. "It was a good lap, there wasn't really any more left in the car," he said after the Shootout, "but you don't know what it will be like in the race, you don't get to run many consecutive laps here, even in a two hour session.

"But fourth is not a bad place to start, we're on the clean line and our car is generally very consistent when it is fast, so we'll just have to see if we can repeat Perth."

Garth Tander qualified in fifth spot after a good lap in the Shootout, pushing Russell Ingall and Greg Murphy down a spot, with Todd Kelly, Jason Bright and Jason Richards rounding out the top 10 starters.

Tomorrow's racing action starts at 11:20am with the first of two 36-lap races.

-avesco-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Garth Tander , Marcos Ambrose , Jason Bright , Greg Murphy , Russell Ingall , Mark Skaife , Craig Lowndes , Jason Richards , Todd Kelly , Roland Dane , Steve Richards
Teams Holden Racing Team