Winton: Friday practice report

Skaife dominant on home soil Holden Racing Team leader Mark Skaife has dominated the opening practice session of Round 7 of the 2004 V8 Supercar Championship Series at Winton Motor Raceway in Central Victoria today. Skaife topped the...

Skaife dominant on home soil

Holden Racing Team leader Mark Skaife has dominated the opening practice session of Round 7 of the 2004 V8 Supercar Championship Series at Winton Motor Raceway in Central Victoria today.

Skaife topped the times on his test track by more than half a second from current Championship leader Marcos Ambrose, with a resurgent Greg Murphy next in his Kmart Commodore before rain washed away the value of the 90 minute session.

"The car was quite good," Skaife said after the session, "we tested here a couple of weeks ago, so we'd be pretty disorganised and very average if we weren't ready.

"We made a couple of little changes and then a big one near the end of the session but we got caught out with the weather.

"Any time you roll the car out of the truck and be half a second up you've got to feel pretty good, but let's get it into perspective, the Queensland teams don't test here and they will show the most gain over the weekend, so we've still got a lot of work to do."

Last years Winton round winner Ambrose, said he was happy to be second quickest in the opening session today, and that he had come here with a clear mind and clear conscience after a controversial couple of weeks.

"We are pretty comfortable with that, last year we were around 20th in the first session, so we are happy. This is a circuit I go well at in qualifying and race trim, so we are feeling confident," he said before facing barrage of question over his successful appeal against lost points in Queensland for an engine irregularity.

He said the emotional roller coaster had not interrupted his or the team's preparations for this weekend.

"I just drive the car I am given, anything else is just talk. I think Ross and Jimmy (the Stone brothers) are quite determined, but for me it is just situation normal, I will just do what I normally do, which is just go out there and give 100% to try and win the race."

Greg Murphy was pleased with his performance today, bouncing back from a disastrous couple of race meetings that have laid his Championship hopes in the hands of others.

"It is encouraging, we've taken a couple of steps back to go forwards," he said of his team's better fortunes today. "We've had a bit of a rethink, but we had a lot of things to try today and the weather has changed all that, so we are not where we'd really like to be."

Russell Ingall in the second Caltex Havoline SBR Falcon was fourth fastest and was impressed with the way the number 9 Falcon performed in the first practice session of the event.

"It is a lot better than the same time last year, it is nice to roll it out of the box and be competitive on a track where so many Commodores test," he said.

Todd Kelly was fifth fastest in the other HRT Commodore, landing his quick time early in the session while trying a few more tweaks after testing at the track two weeks ago.

"We had a couple of things in the car we didn't have when we tested here and they didn't really work," he explained. "So we are pretty happy with where we are now, and I think we know what to do from here.

"It is a pretty tough track to do a 300km race on, you are pretty much working all the time and you are buggered at the end, so you need to have a pretty good race car and that is what we are focussing on."

Championship contenders Jason Bright and Steve Richards were next quickest, with John Bowe, Paul Weel and Paul Morris rounding out the top 10.

There were two red flags brought out in the session. The first to collect the stranded Toll Racing Commodore of Anthony Tratt after it rolled to a stop after just one lap and the second was for Steve Ellery who continued his disastrous season after spearing off the track and hitting the wall in his Super Cheap Falcon. The damage was only minor.

Tomorrow's action starts at 9:25am, with qualifying and the Top 10 Shootout rounding out the day.

<pre> Top 10 Friday Practice 1. Mark Skaife HRT Commodore 1m24.3013s 2. Marcos Ambrose Pirtek SBR Falcon 1m24.8762s 3. Greg Murphy Kmart Commodore 1m24.8873s 4. Russell Ingall Havoline SBR Falcon 1m24.9135s 5. Todd Kelly HRT Commodore 1m24.9813s 6. Jason Bright PWR Racing Commodore 1m25.0658s 7. Steven Richards Castrol Perkins Commodore 1m25.0908s 8. Brad Jones OzEmail Falcon 1m25.1544s 9. Paul Weel PWR Racing Commodore 1m25.1911s 10. Paul Morris Sirromet Lifestyle Wines Commodore 1m25.2252s


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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Jason Bright , Greg Murphy , Russell Ingall , Brad Jones , Mark Skaife , Paul Weel , Paul Morris , John Bowe , Todd Kelly , Anthony Tratt , Steve Richards , Steven Richards
Teams Holden Racing Team