Oran Park qualifying notes

Ambrose Masters Qualifying With Another Pole Position. Marcos Ambrose has charged to his fourth pole position of the season and the twelfth of his career, dominating today's Top 10 Shootout at Oran Park Raceway south of Sydney. Ambrose...

Ambrose Masters Qualifying With Another Pole Position.

Marcos Ambrose has charged to his fourth pole position of the season and the twelfth of his career, dominating today's Top 10 Shootout at Oran Park Raceway south of Sydney.

Ambrose finished his run more than 6/10ths of a second quicker that Greg Murphy who will join him on the front row.

Ambrose now boasts a better strike rate in qualifying than all but the legendary Allan Moffat, and with five podium positions in the past five races he looks set to move into the outright lead of 2003 V8 Supercar Championship season.

"We have a technique for the shootout, both in driving and mechanical, and it is our secret," Ambrose said of his dominant lap today. "The Top 10 shootout is good for pride, but in the end it doesn't mean much with 110 laps tomorrow.

"We are minimizing our errors on pitstops and we are as quick as anyone in pitlane, we've had the best race strategy this year, and if the race stays green for a long time I think we've got a good package."

Ambrose has already won four times this year, and fifth win tomorrow will almost certainly move into outright lead in the series after series' leader Jason Bright could only manage 18th in qualifying.

Greg Murphy was happy with his first qualifying session in his new Kmart VY Commodore, the ex-HRT car that was crashed by Todd Kelly in Darwin. Murphy said the new car was providing a challenge for his team which is still not allowed to test outside race meetings.

"We were completely confused at the end of the second practice session, we hadn't really changed the car but we went backwards," Murphy said. "But we had to use the new car, we were going to have to run a VY Commodore at some stage whether we were allowed to test or not, so we had to get it happening.

"It hasn't done a long race at all, so we really don't know how it will perform tomorrow. But we are hopeful we will fluke it again like we did today."

Paul Morris was third in the shootout after sitting at or near the top of the times all day.

"Considering the shocker we had last year, all the credit goes to the guys who built it. They built a great car, my job is easy," Morris said before looking cautiously to tomorrow.

"There is no doubt the rear right is going to fall off the cars, so easy with the throttle and who knows? I don't think anyone has done much more than three laps in a row, so no-one really knows what will happen."

Mark Skaife was fourth after appearing to lose some speed in the lead HRT car.

"We were a little bit slower everywhere than we wanted," Skaife said. "I opted to put old tyres on the car because we weren't getting any new tyre gain and history says you don't get much here anyway.

"But that is as fast as we could go in the first sector (he was nearly a second slower than Ambrose)."

Jason Richards was a surprise fifth fastest after rolling his team Dynamik Commodore this morning.

"I learnt a new trick... but I think I've been playing too much PlayStation®2," Richards said of his adventure this morning. "It's not nice to be upside down, but it was only a gentle roll and there was no mechanical damage, only cosmetics.

"Going into the race we should be OK, but I do have a lot of front end grip which isn't good."

Last round winner Russell Ingall was sixth fastest, just edging out Steve Ellery in his first shootout run of the year. Todd Kelly and Craig Lowndes were next, with Simon Wills in the lead Team Dynamik Commodore rounding out the top 10.

Tomorrow's 300km race will feature both fuel and tyres stops.

-avesc-

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Series Supercars
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Jason Bright , Greg Murphy , Russell Ingall , Mark Skaife , Craig Lowndes , Paul Morris , Jason Richards , Todd Kelly , Simon Wills , Allan Moffat