Stone Brothers Racing recorded it second 1-2 V8 Supercar finish when the combinations of Marcos Ambrose and Greg Ritter and Russell Ingall and Cameron McLean clinched a double at the Betta Electrical Sandown 500 in Melbourne today. The win gave...
Stone Brothers Racing recorded it second 1-2 V8 Supercar finish when the combinations of Marcos Ambrose and Greg Ritter and Russell Ingall and Cameron McLean clinched a double at the Betta Electrical Sandown 500 in Melbourne today.
The win gave Ambrose, the defending series champion, his first endurance race victory and put him back into the championship lead in his Pirtek Falcon.
The Ingall has maintained fifth place in the championship in his Caltex Havoline Ford, but has closed the gap on the leading four drivers to keep his title hopes well and truly alive.
It was SBR's second 1-2 finish after clinching the quinella at the Queensland 300 last year. The victory was Ambrose's 16th race win and 12th round win in 48 V8 Supercar rounds.
The Pirtek Falcon dominated from the early stages in the race when Ambrose grabbed the lead from the opening lap from second spot on the grid.
Ritter also did a solid job and managed to maintain the race lead for the majority of his stint despite several re-starts after safety car periods.
Unfortunately Ritter's job was marred on lap 100 when he locked the rear brakes at turn one and put his car in the sand. He managed to get the car back out and keep it on the lead lap and that kept it in the hunt.
Ingall managed to make up eight places in his opening stint and McLean kept the car in a position for a successful day by making up one place in the middle stages of the race.
Both Ingall and Ambrose got back into their respective cars for the final stint of the race on lap 104 and by lap 114 they were running 1-2.
They managed to maintain those positions through to the chequered flag and Warren Luff and Steve Johnson finished third to give Ford a clean sweep of the podium positions.
Ingall had a nervous moment on lap 121 when his rear bumper came loose after an earlier incident, but it came totally free of the car within 400m and he escaped being blacked flagged and forced back to the pits.
Ambrose smashed the lap record with a time of one minute and 10.8251 on lap 120 -- it beat Craig Lowndes' 1999 time by around 0.8 of a second.
The race was called one lap short of its 161 total because 12 safety car periods had forced it to be a "timed" race.
The next round of the championship will be the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at Bathurst's Mt Panorama on October 8-10.
WHAT OUR DRIVERS HAD TO SAY--..
MARCOS AMBROSE -- PIRTEK RACING
"Stone Brothers Racing gave me the best car I have ever had today and we got the result," said Ambrose.
"The race was pretty amazing the way it unfolded and showed what a great spectacle the Sandown 500 is.
"I think we definitely got out of jail after Greg had his incident at turn one.
"I was all suited up and ready for our driver change when I looked up and saw the car on the screen. We managed to recover and we will move on.
"The only real drama was when I grabbed third instead of fourth a couple of times and gave the engine a bit of a rev. We lost a spot, but we managed to get it back pretty quickly.
"I had a couple of close calls with cars spinning in front of me -- a couple of them could have gone either way.
"It is great to be back in the championship lead and I think we deserve it. We have won more races than anyone else this season.
"I am now really looking forward to Bathurst, because it is a race which is one on the "to do list" to win and I think we go there with a real chance."
GREG RITTER -- PIRTEK RACING
"I guess you could say this is a dream come true," said Ritter
"To be associated with SBR and to have this car to drive is a great opportunity.
"I really don't know what happened when I got into the sand at turn one.
"I was in cruise mode and the car was a real missile.
"I had a little lock-up of the brakes, I don't know if I hit some mud or something that had been dragged back on to the track.
"Luckily I managed to keep it out of the real deep mud and sand and we managed to get it back on to the track.
"I was really not worrying about anything else except getting the car going again."
RUSSELL INGALL -- CALTEX HAVOLINE RACING
"It is definitely a Blue day with three Fords on the podium," said Ingall.
"Starting from 15th place meant we did it pretty tough today, but we got the job done.
"I can promise Cameron (McLean) we will not be starting that far back in the next race at Bathurst.
"We had a few minor problems towards the end, but at the end of the day we did not have the speed of Marcos' car.
"We will go back to the drawing board and see if we can milk some more speed out of the Caltex Havoline Ford before Bathurst and I am sure we can do that.
"Cameron was put out there among plenty of drivers like Murphy and Bright and he got the job done and I think we will be a strong pairing for Bathurst.
"I think we are probably a better combination for Bathurst than here.
"It is great to keep my championship hopes alive."
CAMERON McLEAN -- CALTEX HAVOLINE RACING
"There is no doubt that this is certainly the highlight of my career," said McLean.
"Basically I was able to keep out of trouble and be in a position to avoid all the mud and the sand. Then I handed it back to Russell, who had already done a great job to make up eight spots in his opening stint.
"I have to thank Stone Brothers Racing and the Caltex Havoline team for giving me such a great car and the opportunity.
"I think we go to Bathurst with plenty of confidence and with a very solid combination.
"I actually think that Bathurst suits my driving style much better than here. I think with an SBR car and Russell as my co-driver I have my best ever chance at the place."