SBR Lead The Pack at Betta Electrical Sandown 500 Stone Brothers Racing led the pack in the opening practice session for the Betta Electrical Sandown 500 in Melbourne today. Defending V8 Supercar champion Marcos Ambrose paved the way in the...
SBR Lead The Pack at Betta Electrical Sandown 500
Stone Brothers Racing led the pack in the opening practice session for the Betta Electrical Sandown 500 in Melbourne today.
Defending V8 Supercar champion Marcos Ambrose paved the way in the Pirtek Falcon and was closely followed by SBR teammate Russell Ingall in the Caltex Havoline Ford.
Ambrose set the fastest time of one minute and 10.606 seconds around the 3.1km circuit, while Ingall clocked a 1:10.7953 lap -- both efforts more than a second quicker than their times from the respective session last year.
Former SBR driver David Besnard was third fastest with a time of 1:11.0219 and he was followed by Steve Ellery (1:11.0662) and John Bowe (1:11.1792) to give Ford the top five places for the first time in a practice session this year.
The afternoon co-driver session started in wet conditions, but dried out as the 30-minute run continued.
Ambrose's co-driver Greg Ritter was third quickest in this session while Ingall's teammate Cameron McLean was 14th.
Tomorrow will start with a morning practice session followed by qualifying and a top 10 shootout -- heavy rain and some hail is predicted.
WHAT OUR DRIVERS HAD TO SAY--..
MARCOS AMBROSE -- PIRTEK FALCON
"The car is probably the best we have had straight off the truck this year," said Ambrose.
"We worked on the car being in good shape for Greg (Ritter) in the afternoon session, but we did not need to work too hard.
"We bolted on better tyres towards the end like a lot of the teams, but as usual we will need to wait for qualifying to get a real guide when everyone is one the same tyres.
"I think the time this morning was quicker than our qualifying time last year.
"SBR has really moved forward from last year and today was a really good indication of that."
GREG RITTER -- PIRTEK FALCON
"Marcos' car is probably easier to drive than the AU Falcon I ran in the final round of the Konica Series a couple of weeks ago," said Ritter.
"There is a lot more pressure being Marcos' co-driver this weekend, but the team is making it easy for me.
"In endurance races in the past I have been the lead driver, all I have to do this weekend is jump in for the middle stint, stay out of trouble and hand it back.
"I think we probably could have been a little quicker in the co-driver session, but I had a little "oops" which caused some gravel to get caught up in the brakes.
"At the end of the day I think it all looks pretty good."
RUSSELL INGALL -- CALTEX HAVOLINE FORD
"A lot of the time you can really get a good idea about the rest of your weekend from the opening session," said Ingall.
"Hopefully today was a gauge on what is to come for us.
"You still have to pedal the thing around to get a good time out of it, but at the end of the day I think we have a pretty good toy.
"Cameron is doing a solid job and I think we will have a strong race package.
"The weather predicted for tomorrow is going to make things very interesting."
CAMERON McLEAN -- CALTEX HAVOLINE FORD
"I only got one out lap in the first session because it was red-flagged and then it rained for most of the co-driver session in the afternoon," said McLean.
"I really just ran around and got a feel for how the car was over the kerbs -- I really got a feel for the whole deal.
"My job is to drive the short middle stint on Sunday and then hand it back to Russell so he can go on and win the thing.
"That's the plan and I think we have the tools to do the job."