Queensland: Friday practice report

Ambrose and Ingall head the local V8 Supercar charge Stone Brothers Racing teammates Marcos Ambrose and Russell Ingall set the running pace in the first session of practice for round six of the 2004 V8 Supercar Championship Series at Queensland...

Ambrose and Ingall head the local V8 Supercar charge

Stone Brothers Racing teammates Marcos Ambrose and Russell Ingall set the running pace in the first session of practice for round six of the 2004 V8 Supercar Championship Series at Queensland Raceway south of Brisbane.

Ambrose and Ingall dominated the session on their home track, Ambrose setting the quickest time of the session more than a quarter of a second quicker than the same session last year.

Southern state rivals Jason Bright and Steve Richards were the next quickest cars, with Warren Luff rounding out the top five and his first appearance in the top five of 2004.

But all eyes were on the SBR pair who finished first and second in the race here last year. Ambrose has also claimed three straight pole positions at the track.

"We have a good package here, it is our test track so if we are going to go well anywhere it will be here," Ambrose said after the 35-minute session. "Every year we've been here we're never been fastest in the opening session, so it is great to have both SBR cars as the fastest two cars."

Ambrose said the big challenge at Queensland Raceway was keeping the car in tune with the changing conditions, and he thinks that is where the locally based teams who test here have the advantage.

He also added that it was too early in the season to start talking points and a repeat Championship.

"It is too early to start talking about points... we've got to keep winning and keep taking pole positions and not worry about the points."

Ingall was enjoying his day in the sun after a rough weekend three weeks ago in Perth.

"We were just toying around with the set-up of the car to see if we could get it any better," he said of the session. "Obviously we'll be a bit more serious tomorrow, but we just wanted to try a few things today on old tyres.

"We know the track here very well, so we didn't need to try anything with good tyres. We know we will get a good gain on new tyres."

Bright was the only driver to consistently challenge the two SBR cars in that session despite two off track excursions.

"I was having a bit of a dip, not on the first one but we were certainly having a go on the second one" he said. "The track has a lot of rubber down and it has good grip, there seems to 50 new bumps which we are going to have to work out, but that was a good session for us."

Richards missed half the session after engine problems ground his Castrol Perkins Commodore, but he said it was nothing to worry about.

"Last year we had some engine problems here which cost u any chance of the Championship, so I was a little gun shy," Richards said. "It dropped onto seven cylinders and I just shut it off and just missed getting into pitlane. Luckily it was only a plug lead, but it cost us 12 minutes."

Luff said his team's two-day test session recently had helped them focus on qualifying speed, and that he expected to get quicker as the weekend progressed.

"We were very happy with the two days we spent here last week, they were very good for our car speed. It is great to be here, but it only going to get tougher from here," he said.

"We are very confident, we didn't have good tyres on it and we know we will get quicker. To come out here and have two cars in the top 10 for this first session is great for the team."

The consistent John Bowe was sixth ahead of Luff's teammate Steve Johnson who had to battle a gearbox leak on his way to recording his fastest lap after the chequered flag. Jason Bargwanna, Paul Morris and Greg Murphy rounded out the top 10. The HRT cars of Todd Kelly and Mark Skaife could only manage 12 and 23rd respectively.

The action starts tomorrow at 10:35am and runs through the Shootout at 4:15pm.

<pre> Top 10 Friday Practice 1. Marcos Ambrose Pirtek SBR Falcon 1m10.8595s 2. Russell Ingall Havoline SBR Falcon 1m11.0160s 3. Jason Bright PWR Racing Commodore 1m11.1148s 4. Steven Richards Castrol Perkins Commodore 1m11.1421s 5. Warren Luff Shell Helix DJR Falcon 1m11.2439s 6. John Bowe OzEmail Falcon 1m11.3500s 7. Steve Johnson Shell Helix DJR Falcon 1m11.3917s 8. Jason Bargwanna Orccon Falcon 1m11.4094s 9. Paul Morris Sirromet Commodore 1m11.4299s 10. Greg Murphy Kmart Commodore 1m11.4602s

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Series Supercars
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Jason Bright , Greg Murphy , Russell Ingall , Mark Skaife , Jason Bargwanna , Paul Morris , John Bowe , Todd Kelly , Warren Luff , Steve Johnson , Steve Richards , Steven Richards