Eastern Creek: Saturday qualifying report

Skaife Ready to Take on Ambrose at Eastern Creek April 3 2004 -- On his 37th birthday, veteran Mark Skaife declared he and Holden were not spent forces in the V8 Supercar Championship Series as he gradually stalks the Ford of Marcos ...

Skaife Ready to Take on Ambrose at Eastern Creek

April 3 2004 -- On his 37th birthday, veteran Mark Skaife declared he and Holden were not spent forces in the V8 Supercar Championship Series as he gradually stalks the Ford of Marcos Ambrose.

Skaife will sit beside pole winner Ambrose for tomorrow's second round at Eastern Creek in Sydney as his team gets more and more out of his HRT Holden each week. He finished today's Top 10 Shootout just .4s behind Ambrose.

He had been written off by many following a ninth in Adelaide a fortnight ago. But, as he rightfully pointed out, he still managed 126 points in Adelaide behind the 192 Ambrose took for winning.

"They were a bit too quick to right us off," Skaife said.

"For a poor performance the result was that we didn't suffer too badly. Everyone is going to have a bad round but we know we have lots of good to come.

"When you look in our garage we have guys with five championships between them," he said. "You don't lose or forget that experience overnight."

Ambrose recovered from what had been a poor weekend with his 14th pole position in his career. Coming out fifth, he nailed his fastest qualifying lap ahead of Skaife, Steven Richards, Jason Bright and Tood Kelly.

Ambrose' team-mate Russell Ingall was the next Ford behind Ambrose with four Commodores between them on tomorrow's grid.

"We haven't been anywhere near the front all weekend," Ambrose said.

"One of our strengths is to fight on. I was really anxious to cross the line because I knew it was faster in qualifying, I just didn't know how much faster."

Richards, who has never taken a pole position but is a constant top five performer, finally thinks he has a shot at Eastern Creek which has been a bad memory for his team.

"Our form here has been poor," he said. "If we can get a good result here I will be very happy. Tomorrow's goal is to go out, get a good start and see what happens from there."

Veteran John Bowe continued to find speed in his Ozemail Falcon in the final qualifying session to lead the Top 10 into the shootout. Bowe is enjoying a great start to the season finishing fifth after practice following his ninth place in round one.

But Bowe ruined his chance of finishing towards the front of the Top 10 on the grid tomorrow when he lost the car into the grass during his fast lap. He will now start from 10th on the starting grid.

"I feel sorry for John," Skaife said of his 52-year-old colleague. "It was unfortunate to have a slide like that when he is obviously running so well."

Skaife was consistently fast, finishing behind Bowe in the last qualifying session having been beside Ingall as the second fastest in practice.

-avesco-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Jason Bright , Russell Ingall , Mark Skaife , John Bowe , Steven Richards