Oran Park: Stone Brothers Racing preview

INTERESTING POINTS FOR ORAN PARK ROUND * Marcos Ambrose won this round from pole last year and gave Ford its first Oran Park victory since John Bowe in 1995 * Russell Ingall qualified sixth last year and was on target to make it a 1-2 finish...


* Marcos Ambrose won this round from pole last year and gave Ford its first Oran Park victory since John Bowe in 1995

* Russell Ingall qualified sixth last year and was on target to make it a 1-2 finish for SBR when he received a puncture early in the race. He finished 8th.

* Despite being in fifth place in the championship, Ingall has declared that he is still a championship contender with five rounds remaining.

* Ambrose dropped from the championship lead to fourth place after being helped off the track by John Bowe during the last round at Winton. Ambrose did managed to take the chequered flag, but finished 18 laps down in 26th place.


Oran Park is a pretty fast and aggressive race track in areas and certainly one of the most unique in the country.

You cross the start-finish and hit top gear into the fast left-hand kink at the end of the straight. You are flat out through here on new tyres, but it is a pretty scary braking area at the end of it and it is quite easy to lock a wheel if the car is not loaded correctly.

You then roll into turn two which really is a bit of a nothing corner, but does provide some opportunity to pass as you drop to second gear -- as a rule you usually loose more than you gain if you have a go at this point.

You then fire under the bridge and grab a couple of gears before heading into the next right hander.

This section of the circuit is flat, but is quite technical. You jump out of the right hander up a short straight and then into another sweeping right hander which takes you up to the bridge.

You try and get the wheels into the curbs here to give yourself a bit of extra grip.

This is one of the most unique things for the Australian V8 Supercar Championship, because it is the only section of circuit which loops over another.

You go into another right-hand sweeper off the bridge and the car goes very light and there is plenty of opposite lock. The car then drops into a fast right-left combination and it is very unbalanced and always sliding around.

It is then into a sweeping left hander where you use all the track and then some -- up to three quarters of the car is out on the grass, but it doesn't matter too much because you are usually on two wheels anyway.

You need to carry your momentum to up the blind "flip-flop" -- through here you basically pick a line and just hang on! You drop down the other side into a big hole which leads you up to the final left hander on to the main straight.

You brake late because you are heading up hill and try and get the car as close to the concrete wall as possible on the outside -- sometimes you nick it.

The wall has been hit so many timers over the years that the bottom of it is actually further away from the car than the top.

You can loose your side mirror here without any other section of the car being touched.

You then need to get a smooth run on to the straight and keep an eye out for anyone exiting into pit lane on the right-hand side.

My pole time here last year was one minute and 8.0291 seconds for the 2.7km lap and it was great to go on and win the race at a track which had traditionally been a bit of a haven for Holden.


This is a great venue with a challenging track. With so many directional changes and the hills it is a pretty exciting place. It is also terrific for the fans because of the seating and the mounds around the track.

That would have to be my first time in a V8 going over the flip flop. You simply cannot see the track in front of you. I wrong guessed it and ended up in the grass on my very first lap in a V8 Supercar. I am sure Ross and Jimmy Stone were thinking we were going to be in for a very short weekend. Hitting Mark Skaife on the out lap of the very first practice session in 2002 would also be up there - both of us were playing silly buggers. It was a nice feeling to collect the winner's trophy for Ford here last year after an eight-year dry spell.

I can't say I enjoy the place, it really has not changed since I was racing go-karts. I do have to say the pit facilities are a bit bitter and make it more enjoyable to attend. It was very disappointing to get a puncture early in last year's race because we had a car that could have won. Hopefully we can repeat the speed this time around.

Driving up to the start-finish line after the race was red flagged in 2000, when Paul Morris and Mark Larkham decided they were going to have a lunch time barbeque on the main straight. That was massive accident.


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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Russell Ingall , Mark Skaife , Mark Larkham , Paul Morris , John Bowe