Pukekohe: SBR race report

Ambrose Takes Back Title Lead Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose regained the lead in the V8 Supercar Championship Series when he finished second outright in round three at the PlaceMakers V8 International at Pukekohe in New Zealand ...

Ambrose Takes Back Title Lead

Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose regained the lead in the V8 Supercar Championship Series when he finished second outright in round three at the PlaceMakers V8 International at Pukekohe in New Zealand today.

Ambrose won the opening race and finished third in the remaining two races in his Pirtek Falcon to be second overall behind Jason Bright.

There were three races today after yesterday's opening 36-lap race was postponed because of shocking weather conditions which had flooded the track in different sections. Each of the races was reduced to a 36-lap contest without any pit stops.

Ambrose's teammate Russell Ingall produced a solid result in his Caltex Havoline Falcon, but could have finished a little higher if he had not been turned around in the opening race by John Bowe.

Ingall finished seventh overall for the weekend and jumped from 11th to seventh in the championship standings.


The race started on a wet, but drying track. Some of the field actually elected to start on slicks, but the majority started on wets, including Ambrose and Ingall.

Ambrose got a blinding start in his Pirtek Falcon and was basically never headed.

Pole sitter Mark Skaife dropped three places on the opening lap and was then forced to pit (for slicks) when he spun after an incident with Steve Richards -- he eventually finished 16th.

Ingall got a reasonable start, but spun at the hairpin in the opening lap after being hit from behind by John Bowe. Ingall was lucky to avoid being hit by on-coming traffic and rejoined the field in 24th place.

Ingall drove the wheels of his Caltex Havoline Falcon and was as high as 11th by lap 26 -- he eventually finished 12th after being passed by Craig Baird on the final lap, who had started the race on slicks.

The former two-time Bathurst winner drove with the pace of the leaders for the majority of the race.

Ambrose built on his lead lap after lap and eventually took the chequered flag by 8.2 seconds from Jason Bright and Paul Radisich in a race which had plenty of incidents, but amazingly, no safety car periods.


Ambrose did not get a good start and was third behind Jason Bright and Greg Murphy at the end of lap one and that was basically how the race continued for 36 laps.

In the meantime Ingall made some great early progress in his Caltex Havoline Falcon and was seventh by the end of lap seven.

On lap 11 a safety was bought out after Warren Luff was basically run off the road by an out of control Mark Porter at turn three.

The race restarted four laps later, but the positions basically stayed the same for the remainder of the race with Ambrose chasing Bright and Murphy to the line and Ingall unable to get past Paul Weel.

The race was contested in dry conditions and both SBR cars escaped without any panel damage. The result also gave Ambrose back the championship leader over Steve Richards by two points.


Race three was very similar to the second race in many respects, including the weather which was overcast, but dry. Ambrose slotted into third behind Bright and Murphy at the start, while Ingall maintained his spot in seventh.

Ambrose made a great move on Murphy coming on to the back straight on lap seven and won the drag race out of the corner. Ambrose managed to grab a bit of a gap, but did not have the car speed to catch Bright.

Murphy eventually grabbed back second place after a move coming out of the hairpin on lap 33.

Ingall kept the points clicking over by again finishing seventh behind Bright's teammate Paul Weel, despite having a wet set-up on his car.


"In the first race I got a great start and just settled into a grove from there," said Ambrose.

"They car was great even as the track dried out and the conditions changed.

"In the second race I missed the start and let a couple past me and I think we also missed the set-up a little bit.

"Race three was pretty similar. There was plenty of guessing as to what the weather would do, in fact, we were changing springs up until 10 minutes before the race.

"I had a good battle with 'Murph' and in the end it was good to finish with out best result here and regain the lead in the championship.

"After the rain we had yesterday, today's races were always going to be a bit of a lottery. If you had put one wheel off the track you could find yourself up against the fence -- which a couple of drivers found out.

"With the way the points system is, you need to be consistent and keep scoring points and we managed to do that this weekend."


"Although we jumped four places in the championship standings, it was a frustrating weekend," said Ingall.

"Not qualifying in the top five really hurt us for the remainder of the weekend.

"We started too far back down the grid and as a result we got caught up with some less favourable drivers and got turned around. From then on it was always going to be tough.

"We had the pace in race one, but we used it up passing blokes who started behind us.

"In the final race we gambled on a wet set up and the rain did not come.

"The key for the weekend is qualifying and I am determined to get that sorted out before the next round."


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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Jason Bright , Greg Murphy , Russell Ingall , Mark Skaife , Craig Baird , Paul Weel , John Bowe , Mark Porter , Warren Luff , Steve Richards