Stone Brothers Racing had a day of mixed fortunes in the seventh round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Winton Motor Raceway in North-East Victoria today. Russell Ingall finished a well-deserved fourth in his Caltex Havoline Falcon...
Stone Brothers Racing had a day of mixed fortunes in the seventh round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Winton Motor Raceway in North-East Victoria today.
Russell Ingall finished a well-deserved fourth in his Caltex Havoline Falcon after running as high as second, while Marcos Ambrose was 28th in his Pirtek Falcon after losing 18 laps after being knocked off the track by fellow Ford driver John Bowe on lap 60 of the 100-lap contest.
The race was won by Cameron McConville from Rick Kelly and Jason Bright.
Ingall had settled into a great race for the lead with Greg Murphy when both drivers slipped off the track on lap 86 after sliding through some mud and sand brought back on to the track by another car at turn 12.
While Murphy had all four wheels off the track, Ingall had to go much wider again to avoid him and did a great job to get through the sand trap and back on to the track and into fifth place.
He picked up one more spot a couple of laps from home when Murphy had a mechanical problem and was forced to limp to the line.
Ingall's efforts elevated him one more place in the championship to fifth -- three points ahead of Murphy.
"What a day," said Ingall. "There is no doubt about it, 100 laps around here is a long way and I am sure fans got their monies worth, even if they were confused as to what was going on.
"I had a reasonable car today and I think with a bit more luck we could have finished on the podium, if not with a race win.
"Our hopes went out the window when 'Murph' and I slipped off the track at the final turn with about 14 laps to go.
"If I had been on the inside I would have missed the rubbish on the track and would not have had to avoid 'Murph' and would have gone into the lead. That's just the luck of the draw.
"Thankfully I managed to drive it out of the sand and still stay in the top five."
Ambrose managed to overcome an uncharacteristic slip up on lap 25 when he put a wheel into the dirt on the final turn and was spat across the sand trap and into the entrance of pit lane. He had no other option than to give himself his own "drive through" penalty and lost 20 positions as a result.
He fought his way back and was in fifth and challenging for fourth when Bowe hit him at turn nine, turning him on to a wet and muddy infield.
Ambrose's car was not deemed to be in a dangerous enough spot to require a safety car period and it was only after the defending series champion got out of his car and let his rear tyres down that he was he able to get enough traction to get back on to the racing surface.
Ambrose's efforts to dig mud out from around his rear tyres and reduce the air pressure allowed him to complete the required 75% of race distance and rescue 42 championship points.
The effort sees him now sitting fourth in the championship on 1106 points behind Bright (1131), Richards (1126) and Kelly (1110).
"I respect John Bowe, I have known him a long time, but I am a little confused with that whole deal (the incident)," said Ambrose. "Let's just leave it out on the track. I am disappointed, but we will move on.
"The boys radioed me and gave me the tip to take some air pressure out of the tyres to try and help me get back on the track.
"I dug some mud from around the rear wheels, let some air out and then got back in and started it up. I don't know why I did not think of it myself.
"As for the championship, it could have been a lot worse.
"We managed to pick up 42 points and keep ourselves in the championship hunt."
The next round of the championship will be at Oran Park in Sydney on August 13-15.