Pukekohe: Friday qualifying report

Bright wants to end Murphy's V8 New Zealand Record 30 April 2004 -- Holden Driver Jason Bright is aiming to break Greg Murphy's amazing run in New Zealand by becoming the first V8 Supercar driver beat the local hero on his home track. Bright...

Bright wants to end Murphy's V8 New Zealand Record

30 April 2004 -- Holden Driver Jason Bright is aiming to break Greg Murphy's amazing run in New Zealand by becoming the first V8 Supercar driver beat the local hero on his home track.

Bright scored provisional pole position in the third round of the 2004 V8 Supercar Championship Series at the Placemakers V8 International at the Pukekohe circuit just south of Auckland today.

He broke the practice lap record along the way, beating former champion Mark Skaife's previous best of 56.45sec in practice last year.

Bright will now lead tomorrow's Top 10 Shootout which will decide who starts in the front of the grid for the first of three races this weekend.

Murphy - who has won all three Championship rounds in New Zealand - qualified fifth fastest, while Marcos Ambrose kept the Ford flag flying with second behind Bright.

The two Holden Racing Team cars of former champion Mark Skaife and the ever consistent Todd Kelly joined in the mix in third and fourth, despite both complaining that they can't find the same power as the car of Bright.

"I'll guarantee you they are not as bad as they are making out, they just don't have the power advantage they want or have had in the past," Bright said.

"We came away from the last round at Eastern Creek disappointed. It wasn't flowing as well there as it did at the Australian Grand Prix, but then we found a few things that explained a lot and now we are back to where we were.

"To be honest, we didn't get a good run in qualifying today, but what gives the most confidence is the record run in the second practice session."

Reigning champion Ambrose was second fastest, happy with the consistency of his car as well as its speed. Ambrose, the only Ford driver to ever sit on the podium here, says he is looking to right a few wrongs this weekend.

"We've had our chances here before and haven't taken them," Ambrose said.

"We've got a good race package, so we'll just have to see what we can do. If I am in the top three or five in all three races this weekend we'll go close to winning the event."

Skaife and Kelly completed their best collective effort for the year.

"This place is a bit of a drag strip, so we are a bit surprised to be here," Skaife said. "We've still got a lot of development work to do with the new engine."

Murphy was fifth quickest and also looking for more speed.

"We haven't made enough of a gain this year, unlike some of the other guys around us," he said after the session. "A lot of teams have made big gains, and we are really struggling just to stay in touch.

"We haven't been able to put out finger on a few things, we know the areas we need to improve but we just haven't been able to find it."

Steven Ellery slammed his Super Cheap Falcon into the wall exiting Turn 3 and was lucky to make qualifying, while Brad Jones went into the sand trap at the hairpin twice to red flag practice earlier in the day.

Tomorrow morning sees the running of the Top 10 Shootout, with the first of three races for weekend later in the day.

<pre> Top 10 Qualifying 1. Jason Bright PWR Commodore 56.3655s 2. Marcos Ambrose Pirtek Falcon 56.6062s 3. Mark Skaife HRT Commodore 56.6209s 4. Todd Kelly HRT Commodore 56.7160s 5. Greg Murphy Kmart Commodore 56.7184s 6. Steven Richards Castrol Perkins Commodore 56.8207s 7. Max Wilson Betta Electrical Triple 8 Falcon 56.8786s 8. Paul Radisich Betta Electrical Triple 8 Falcon 56.9058s 9. John Bowe OzEmail Falcon 56.9423s 10. Jason Bargwanna Orrcon Steel Falcon 56.9425s

-avesco-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Max Wilson , Marcos Ambrose , Jason Bright , Steven Ellery , Greg Murphy , Brad Jones , Mark Skaife , Jason Bargwanna , Paul Radisich , John Bowe , Todd Kelly , Steven Richards
Teams Holden Racing Team