SBR Perth Saturday qualifying, race one report

Stone Brothers Racing cars in top five in the west Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose and Russell Ingall both finished in the top five and as the leading Ford drivers in an exciting first leg of the fifth round of the V8 Supercar...

Stone Brothers Racing cars in top five in the west

Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose and Russell Ingall both finished in the top five and as the leading Ford drivers in an exciting first leg of the fifth round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Barbagallo Raceway near Perth today.

Ambrose was third in his Pirtek Falcon and Ingall raced his way to fifth in his Caltex Havoline Ford after qualifying 16th earlier in the day.

The 42-lap race was one of the most entertaining of the season to date with Greg Murphy and Mark Skaife crossing the line a fraction of a second ahead of Ambrose.

Amazingly the race was run without a yellow-flag period -- a surprise considering there were 10 red flags during practice and qualifying due to cars spearing into sand traps around the circuit.

In qualifying Ambrose set the sixth-fastest time of the session in his Pirtek Ford after only lap four. Ingall was 16th in his Caltex Havoline Falcon when Paul Weel's car did an oil line and sprayed the track.

Ingall hit the oil and speared off the track, damaging his front bumper and radiator. The damage could not be fixed in time for him to re-join the field. Lucky the surface of the track stayed the same because of the oil and Ingall remained in 16th place.

Marcos Ambrose qualified for the top 10 shootout and produced a smooth consistent lap to jump three places on the grid to third.

At the start of the race Ambrose dropped to fourth place off the line behind Steve Richards, but he managed to grab back the spot in his pit stop on lap nine in which his SBR crew changed tyres in just 7.3 seconds.

Ambrose momentarily got in front of Skaife as he left the pits, but he did not have the momentum to maintain it.

Murphy and Skaife managed to breakaway a little from Ambrose in the middle stages of the race, but the Ford driver pulled them back in the closing laps.

"The car had great balance and it was a good pit stop by the boys." said Ambrose, who is trying to become the first Ford driver to win three rounds of the championship since 1993.

"The car had great balance, but there are a few little things we will change over night.

"Unfortunately the two guys in front of me were equal with me on the championship table. Hopefully we can reverse the results tomorrow.

"This has certainly capped off my best start to a weekend here in Perth and hopefully the tide will continue to turn in tomorrow's final two races."

Ingall continued to show his renowned fighting spirit after ill-deserved luck in qualifying and had jumped from 16th to ninth by the end of the first lap.

He picked up another three spots in a great pit stop which left him out on the track in fifth spot with basically no one around him for the last 75 per cent of the race.

"The first lap set me up," said Ingall.

"I had nothing to loose and 'threw it out there' in the first couple of corners and it paid off.

"I also picked up a few spots in my pit stop which was fantastic.

"The car was really balanced, but the rears were a little 'squeezy' towards the end.

"It was probably a little easier running with no one around me there for a while, but I would have much prefered to have been fighting in that lead group.

"I probably used up a little more of my tyres dicing and passing in the early stages, but I think we are in reasonable shape for tomorrow."

-sbr-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Greg Murphy , Russell Ingall , Mark Skaife , Paul Weel , Steve Richards