Stone Brothers Pukekohe qualifying notes

Stone Brothers Racing had mixed results in official qualifying for the PaceMakers V8 International at Pukekohe Park Raceway in New Zealand today. Marcos Ambrose qualified sixth in his Pirtek Falcon and will contest tomorrow's top 10 shootout, ...

Stone Brothers Racing had mixed results in official qualifying for the PaceMakers V8 International at Pukekohe Park Raceway in New Zealand today.

Marcos Ambrose qualified sixth in his Pirtek Falcon and will contest tomorrow's top 10 shootout, while Russell Ingall battled in his Caltex Havoline Ford and will start 17th in tomorrow afternoon's opening 36-lap race.

Ambrose struggled a little in the morning practice sessions and actually had a rare start in the lower 50% of the field in qualifying.

The Gold Coast-based Tasmanian needs to score a minimum of 121 points over the weekend and finish with seven more round points than Greg Murphy to clinch his first V8 Supercar championship on Sunday.

Ingall, who is chasing a top-three championship finish, slotted into the top 50% of the field for qualifying, but simply "missed the set-up".

Amazingly the top 24 cars were separated by less than a second.

MARCOS AMBROSE -- 6th

"We lost our way a little at the start of the qualifying session, but we managed to claw it back by the end," said Ambrose.

"It was always going to be a lottery as to whether the time would be quick enough for the shootout when you consider how close the times are.

"The first run in qualifying was a safe one and then we really had to press on.

"The good thing is that we are in the top 10 and that we have the chance to make a few changes overnight and hopefully improve a bit in the shootout.

RUSSELL INGALL -- 17th

"Well that was not the result we wanted," said Ingall.

"A decision was made to go a certain way with the set-up and it was obviously the not the right one.

"The car was just not right and you pay a penalty at a place like this where a second separates the top 24 cars.

"It is obviously disappointing after our great qualifying and race effort at the last round at Indy.

"We just need to put our heads down tomorrow and keep ourselves in the hunt for a top three championship finish."

Greg Murphy took provisional pole for the race with a lap of 56.5453 seconds, which was under his existing qualifying record.

He was followed by Mark Skaife (56.5698s), Jason Bright (56.6932s), Max Wilson (56.7490s) and Craig Lowndes (56.990s)

The only major incident of the day came in the morning practice when Kiwi driver Jason Richards badly damaged his Commodore after hitting some tyre markers which catapulted his car in a barrel roll at the entry to turn two.

The car will not start tomorrow and is unlikely to start on Sunday.

QUALIFYING
1: Greg Murphy (Holden) 56.5453
2: Mark Skaife (Holden) 56.5698
3: Jason Bright (Holden) 56.6932
4: Max Wilson (Ford) 56.7490
5: Craig Lowndes (Ford) 56.9390
6: Marcos Ambrose (Ford) 56.9618
7: Garth Tander (Holden) 57.0019
8: Jason Bargwanna (Ford) 57.0416
9: Paul Radisich (Ford) 57.0805
10: Todd Kelly (Holden) 57.1031
17: Russell Ingall (Ford) 57.2317

TRACK FACTS -- PUKEKOHE PARK RACEWAY
Venue: Pukekohe Park Raceway, 40km south of Auckland
2003 Race format:
Qualifying (Friday); Top 10 Shootout and Race 1 (36 Laps) (Saturday); Races
    2 & 3 (54 laps) (Sunday) -- All races have compulsory tyres changes.


Circuit Distance: 2.82km
Circuit Direction: Clockwise
Maximum Speed: 240 km/h (Front Straight)
Qualifying Record -- Greg Murphy (VX Commodore) 56.9053 (2001)
Lap Record -- Mark Skaife (VX Commodore) 57.4545 (2002)

CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (After round 11)
1: Marcos Ambrose 1867
2: Greg Murphy 1795
3: Russell Ingall 1703
4: Mark Skaife 1681
5: Craig Lowndes 1540
6: Rick Kelly 1490
7: Jason Bright 1438
8: Steven Richards 1437
9: Tod Kelly 1360
10: Paul Radisich 1319

ADJUSTED CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (After dropping worst round)
1: Marcos Ambrose 1771
2: Greg Murphy 1681
3: Mark Skaife 1645
4: Russell Ingall 1621
5: Craig Lowndes 1482
6: Jason Bright 1438
7: Steven Richards 1437
8: Rick Kelly 1436
9: Todd Kelly 1360
10: Paul Radisich1319

V8 SUPERCARS (All times NZ Local)

WEEKEND SCHEDULE

Saturday -- November 8, 2003
9.50am-10.10am -- Warm-up
11.55pm -- 12.25pm -- Top 10 Shootout
2.35pm-3.25pm -- Race 1 (36 Laps)

Sunday -- November 9, 2003
9.55am-10.15am -- Warm-up
12.30am - Race 2 (54 Laps)
4pm -- Race 3 (54 Laps)

-sbr-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Max Wilson , Garth Tander , Marcos Ambrose , Jason Bright , Greg Murphy , Russell Ingall , Rick Kelly , Mark Skaife , Craig Lowndes , Jason Bargwanna , Jason Richards , Paul Radisich , Todd Kelly , Steven Richards