THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY Stone Brothers Racing had mixed fortunes in the final two legs of the Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge at the Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast today. At the end of the day Caltex Ford driver Russell Ingall ...
THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY
Stone Brothers Racing had mixed fortunes in the final two legs of the Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge at the Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast today.
At the end of the day Caltex Ford driver Russell Ingall still leads the championship by 66 points from his SBR team Marcos Ambrose in the Pirtek Falcon with two rounds remaining.
Ingall got off to a reasonable start and slotted into third position behind Craig Lowndes and Greg Murphy with Mark Skaife in fourth.
Ambrose managed to make up four places in the opening seven laps from the back of the grid after his clutch drama yesterday.
He then hit a wall while trying to pass Paul Morris and this shattered his rear windscreen and bent his rear wing into a vertical position, which really hampered the speed of the Pirtek Falcon.
Ingall battled brake problems early in the race and was forced to skid through the first chicane on lap eight.
Ingall had a great stop of less than 4.5 seconds for his two rear tyres, but the out lap of Skaife on cold tyres was enough to edge him back in front of the Caltex Falcon.
On lap 14 Ingall set a new lap record of 1:51.6246 before being forced to back off because of fading brakes in the Gold Coast heat.
Ambrose limped around to finish 26th.
The race was won by Lowndes from Murphy and Skaife.
This result pushed Ingall's lead over Ambrose in the championship to 106 points.
Ingall was later penalised 32 seconds for his lap-eight chicane incident which put him back to 10th. And his championship lead dropped to 94.
Race two really belonged to Ambrose who raced through the field from 26th to finish 11th.
Ingall was set to make an early stop on lap six when his brake pedal "went to the floor" and he was forced from the de-acceleration area entering pit lane back on to the race track in an effort to avoid the car of Steve Ellery which was at entrance of pit lane.
He made his stop the following lap and was given a lightening 3.6-second stop by his crew.
Unfortunately the stewards penalised him for his pit entry indiscretion the previous lap and he was given a drive-through penalty.
He eventually finished the race in 24th position.
The third and final race of the weekend was won by Craig Lowndes ahead of Mark Skaife and Greg Murphy.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY--..
RUSSELL INGALL -- CALTEX RACING
"I guess this is what you would call a day of highs and lows," said Ingall.
"We got the job done in the first race today and Marcos had dramas so that extended our points lead to something like 94.
"All I had to do in the third race was have a reasonable result and we would have been in a very good position.
"I was coming into the pits and my brake pedal went real soft. To avoiding hitting (Steve) Ellery, who was just in front of me at the entrance of pit lane I steered back on to the race track and I was given a drive through penalty as a result.
"Amazingly I came in for my stop on the next lap and managed to get out ahead of Todd Kelly, but the pedal went soft again at the first chicane and I was force to pull up and give up a spot.
"I was then given a drive through and it is probably better that I don't say what I was thinking at that point.
"It was also disappointing to be given a 32 second penalty from the first race after shooting the chicane. Again I had no brake pedal.
"Things could have certainly finished better for us today, but we still have a 68 point lead with two rounds remaining.
"We just need to ensure we keep our minds on the job and get the best results possible.
"I have won at both Symmons Plains and Phillip Island before, so it's not as though I don't know my way around the places."
MARCOS AMBROSE -- PIRTEK RACING
"The day started as a bit of disaster when I hit the wall while trying to get past (Paul) Morris in the opening race," said Ambrose.
"My rear wing was basically pointing straight up and that can never be a good thing.
"I was starting towards the back again and Russell towards the front in the third race so things did not look that great.
"Then he (Ingall) had his drama and all of a sudden we had a sniff again.
"It was a pretty weird weekend all round and it would be nice to have a bit of sanity in the last couple of events."
The next round of the championship will be in Symmons Plains in Tasmania in three weeks time.