Round 10 Â Winton Raceway, VIC 7-9 September, 2001 Ingall Gets The Winning Feeling Again Sunday, 6pm: Russell Ingall stayed at the front and out of multiple crashes to win his first Shell Championship Series round in three years...
Round 10 Winton Raceway, VIC
7-9 September, 2001
Ingall Gets The Winning Feeling Again
Sunday, 6pm: Russell Ingall stayed at the front and out of multiple crashes to win his first Shell Championship Series round in three years at Victoria's Winton Raceway on the weekend.
Ingall teamed with his Castrol Holden team boss, Larry Perkins, to win the Queensland 500 in 1999, but the last time he won a round on his own was in Darwin in July 1998.
This weekend, he was a worthy winner and has moved into third in the championship standings, declaring he is a legitimate chance to overtake the Holden racing Team pair of Jason Bright and Mark Skaife in the remaining three rounds to win the title.
"It's been a while between drinks, hasn't it," said Ingall. "This is a great result for a few reasons. First, because it is great for our championship hopes and second because the car showed it had some great speed and that is good news with Bathurst being the next round in four weeks. We will be giving it a good nudge. The fans want to see the title go down to the wire and it looks like that's the way it will pan out."
Ingall was the fastest qualifier, clinching a career first championship pole position on Saturday, and would have won both of Sunday's 100km races but for a superior pit stop by Greg Murphy's Kmart Holden crew which allowed the Kiwi to sneak in front of Ingall to pinch the win. A much slower pit stop next time round meant Murphy was sixth in the second race, but that was enough for second overall.
"The crew were fantastic with the first stop but we had a problem with the left rear tyre in the second which cost us some time, but it is still a great result for us," said Murphy. "We are going to Bathurst on the back of two podium finishes in a row now."
Rounding out the podium was Mark Skaife who recorded third and second placings in the races a great comeback for the championship leader who started the day from the 15th grid spot after a blunder by his HRT crew in qualifying.
"I would certainly have preferred not to have started from 15th today. But after the bad call the team made yesterday, if you had have come to me this morning and offered me third overall I would have taken it in a flash," he said.
Skaife's teammate and nearest rival in the points, Jason Bright kept his car straight and finished fourth ahead of the highest Ford finisher, Marcos Ambrose.
Ambrose, the exciting Tasmanian rookie, was the crowd pleaser of the day climbing from a lowly qualifying position and passing car after car before battling with Ingall and Skaife for the win in the second race.
"The car was just great today. If we had have qualified better we would have won the round," he said.
Paul Morris hung on for sixth in the Big Kev Commodore, ahead of the Shell Helix Falcon pair of Paul Radisich and Steven Johnson. Radisich was involved in several clashes which lost him any chance of a podium finish while Johnson simply struggled to match the pace of the front runners.
Johnson's title hopes were dented, slipping to fourth in the points standings and he has surrendered some ground to the three in front of him.
With the Bathurst 1000 on 4-7 October carrying 540 points for the winner, it is shaping as the pivotal moment in the fates of the leading four drivers who are separated by 272 points.
There were a lot of teams who couldn't have asked for a worse preparation leading up to Bathurst. Glenn Seton was caught up in a crazy opening lap collision triggered by an audacious Tony Longhurst dive on the first turn, and was in the pits for repairs before his tyres were warmed up.
Craig Lowndes had one of his worst ever weekend's. His Gibson Falcon spun out of the opening race after just five laps and sat in the infield until the chequered flag. Another spin in the second race left him amongst the backmarkers.
Garth Tander was fighting hard in his Valvoline Cummins Holden, squeezing past Bright for fourth in race two before Bright forced him off the track trying to get back past.
John Bowe, Cameron McConville, David Besnard and Mark Larkham were also involved in crashes which ruined their chances of better results. <pre> Race 2 Top Ten 1. RUSSELL INGALL Castrol Perkins Racing Holden VX 2. MARK SKAIFE Holden Racing Team Holden VX 3. MARCOS AMBROSE Pirtek Racing Ford AU11 4. JASON BRIGHT Holden Racing Team Holden VX 5. PAUL RADISICH Shell Helix Racing Ford AU 6. GREG MURPHY Kmart Racing Holden VX 7. PAUL MORRIS Big Kev Racing Holden VT 8. STEVE ELLERY Supercheap Auto Racing Ford AU 9. STEVEN JOHNSON Shell Helix Racing Ford AU 10. GLENN SETON Ford Tickford Racing Ford AU
Shell Series Points for this round: 1)Ingall - 273 2)Murphy 231 3)Skaife - 228 4)Bright - 205 5)Ambrose - 201 6)Morris 184 7)Radisich - 161 8)Johnson 155 9)Ellery - 148 10)Bargwanna 126 11)Tratt - 114 12)Tander 109 13)S.Richards 105 14)McLean 105 15)Bowe - 102
Shell Series Points Overall after 10 rounds: 1)Skaife - 2498 2)Bright 2371 3)Ingall - 2281 4)Johnson - 2217 5)Murphy - 1842 6)Radisich 1836 7)Kelly - 1644 8)Ambrose 1611 9)Tander - 1479 10)Ellery 1477 11)S.Richards - 1454 12)Lowndes 1432 13)Morris 1341 14)Perkins 1307 15)Seton - 1300