Pukekohe: Stone Brothers Racing preview

SBR EYES HOMETOWN HURRAH IN NEW ZEALAND The powerful Stone Brothers Racing duo of Marcos Ambrose and Russell Ingall will be out to deliver team bosses Ross and Jimmy Stone with a crowning homecoming glory, during the Placemakers V8...

SBR EYES HOMETOWN HURRAH IN NEW ZEALAND

The powerful Stone Brothers Racing duo of Marcos Ambrose and Russell Ingall will be out to deliver team bosses Ross and Jimmy Stone with a crowning homecoming glory, during the Placemakers V8 International event in Pukekohe, New Zealand on April 15-17.

The challenging 2.82 kilometre circuit is one very much etched into the Stones' motorsporting memories, having first sampled the Pukekohe adrenalin rush as 12 year-olds.

Back then the siblings enjoyed watching the region's inaugural New Zealand Grand Prix, travelling the short 20-kilometre journey from their hometown of Onewhero.

Unfortunately local knowledge has yet to deliver them the ultimate prize of an overall V8 Supercar Series round win, however Ambrose did manage a chequered flag victory in race one of three last season.

The reigning champ is in scintillating form, having recorded a faultless display in his Pirtek Falcon during round one of the Series in Adelaide last month.

That's provided the Ford juggernaut the ideal start in his campaign for a three-peat of Championship successes.

Competition in New Zealand is always an exciting prospect and there's definitely some unfinished business to attend to.

"If I can deliver one thing to Ross and Jimmy for everything they've done for me over the past four years it would be to deliver them a round victory at their home track," said Ambrose.

"This is an important race for them and for the entire SBR team. It's one title that's eluded us and there'll only be this final opportunity in 2005 before the New Zealand round is switched elsewhere.

"It was great to capture the first race win in the rain last year but we didn't complete the deal and that was disappointing.

"With the changes to the track this season we want to have good pace and step things up a notch.

"With a new diff ratio and a few other things that have been updated on the Pirtek Falcon I'm excited with what can be achieved on the long straights of Pukekohe.

Ingall was in a characteristically positive mood four weeks ago in Adelaide when he pushed his Caltex Racing Ford into second place during the opening encounter and managed a sixth placing overall.

The racing variables are falling into place for the traditional hard charger of the series and he's confident of a genuine assault on Kiwi bitumen, as he vies for nothing less than top spot on the podium.

"With the resurfacing of the Pukekohe surface that's sure to throw up a few curve balls for drivers and being so early in the season everyone will be out to gain the upper hand, said Ingall.

"But my confidence in the Caltex Racing Falcon was definitely buoyed by the outright speed we were able to generate in Adelaide.

"The team has consistently put forward a great package and it would be great to be able to deliver the silverware for Ross and Jimmy in their own backyard."

The achievements of the Stone Brothers Racing enterprise and it's star performers have been unsurpassed in recent times, however the entire team is aware of that one sentimental victory that would complete the trophy cabinet.

Success at Pukekohe on the fifth and final attempt would satisfy the fairytale and for both Ambrose and Ingall mark a further step in capturing another elusive Championship Series quinella.

-sbr-

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Series Supercars
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Russell Ingall