Queensland qualifying report

Marcos Ambrose Claims Pole For VIP Petfoods Queensland 500 Queensland driver Marcos Ambrose has claimed pole position for tomorrow's VIP Petfoods Queensland 500 at the Queensland Raceway near Ipswich. Ambrose clocked a fastest time of one minute...

Marcos Ambrose Claims Pole For VIP Petfoods Queensland 500

Queensland driver Marcos Ambrose has claimed pole position for tomorrow's VIP Petfoods Queensland 500 at the Queensland Raceway near Ipswich. Ambrose clocked a fastest time of one minute and 10.53 seconds in his Pirtek Falcon and will be joined on the front-row by his Castrol-Havoline Ford teammate David Besnard, who set a time of 1:10.65. Holden Racing Team "hired gun" Tony Longhurst clocked a time of 1:10.66 to make it a Queensland 1-2-3 on tomorrow's starting grid. Ambrose, an open-wheel specialist up to this season, will be having his first endurance start including a driver change with his Tasmanian co-driver Greg Crick.

"I think the pole was there for anyone in the top 15 shootout,who put a lap together and I managed to do that," said Ambrose. "I don't think there has been a great advantage for local teams so far, but I think the amount of laps we have done around here will be an advantage as the race goes on tomorrow. "It would be nice to keep the trophy in Queensland for the first time in the race's three-year history. A driver-change race is going to be a new experience for me, but we are well prepared and I am looking forward to it."

Besnard went one place better than last year when he qualified third for Stone Brothers Racing. Another former open-wheel gun, Besnard is on a high after finishing second outright in the last round of the Shell Championship Series at Oran a month ago.

The qualifying result was fantastic for Jim and Ross Stone of Stone Brothers Racing, which prepares the cars for both Ambrose and Besnard.

"I think many people thought Ross and Jim were taking a risk on two young guys like Marcos and myself at the start of the year, and for a while they were possibly right," said Besnard, who will co-drive with Matthew White tomorrow. "Marcos was going okay, but I was struggling for while and its nice to turn that around like we have recently. "I would love nothing more than to get the Caltex-Havoline Ford over the line first tomorrow and hand Jim and Ross the trophy."

Russell Ingall, who was fastest in morning qualifying, was fourth fastest in the top-15 shootout with a one-lap flyer of 1:10.68.

"I just grabbed a handful of gears at one corner and then just watched the lap slip away on me," said Ingall, who is yet to record a pole position in the Shell Championship Series. "I think we have a reasonable package for the race and hopefully we can produce the goods and repeat our 1999 win here."

Shell Championship Series leader Mark Skaife will start from 15th position after spinning on his hot lap. Skaife, who was second-quickest in the earlier qualifying session, had just recorded the fastest half-lap time of the top 15 competitors, but locked up his brakes and spun just moments later.

"I was just a silly error," admitted Skaife. "I was trying too hard. The tyres are okay, but I guess we're in for a long day tomorrow."

Tickets for this year's VIP Petfoods Queensland 500 can be purchased Ticketthrough master7.com or by phoning 1 300 888 086.

They can also be bought at the gates tomorrow morning which open at 6am. <pre> Top 15 Marcos Ambrose (Ford) 1:10.53 David Besnard (Ford) 1: 10.65 Tony Longhurst (Holden) 1:10.66 Russell Ingall (Holden) 1:10.68 John Bowe (Ford) 1:10.71 Paul Morris (Holden) 1:10.72 Paul Radisich (Ford) 1:10.87 Glenn Seton (Ford) 1:11.02 Craig Lowndes (Ford) 1:11.18 Mark Larkham (Ford) 1:11.25 Todd Kelly (Holden) 1:11.26 Greg Ritter (Ford) 1:11.27 Paul Weel (Ford) 1:11.36 Garth Tander (Holden) 1:11.84 Mark Skaife 1:25.08

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Series Supercars
Drivers David Besnard , Garth Tander , Marcos Ambrose , Russell Ingall , Mark Skaife , Paul Weel , Mark Larkham , Craig Lowndes , Paul Morris , Paul Radisich , John Bowe , Glenn Seton , Todd Kelly , Tony Longhurst , Matthew White , Greg Ritter , Greg Crick , Ross Stone
Teams Holden Racing Team