Marcos Ambrose has taken a controversial win in Race 1 at Eastern Creek, bumping rival driver Mark Skaife off the track on his way to victory.

Skaife, starting behind Craig Lowndes in second place, appeared to have botched his start, the HRT driver conceding places to Ambrose and Steven Richards before the first turn.

Max Wilson, behind the wheel of the WOW Sight and Sound Commodore also had line dramas, as the Brazilian's car sat unmoving at the start of the race.

The safety car made an early appearance when Simon Wills found himself buried in the kitty litter. After being pulled from the gravel, Wills was able to rejoin the race, albeit a considerable distance behind the leaders.

When the compulsory pit stop window opened, many teams took the opportunity to make an early stop. While the pit stops were unfolding, Skaife attempted to pass Ambrose, ducking down the inside while trying to claim second place from the defending series champion. The cars clashed, and Skaife was bumped off the circuit, rejoining the race narrowly inside the top ten.

It can be said without doubt that there will be follow up talks for this incident and perhaps even a penalty for Ambrose. Time will tell...

Vying for the race lead, Lowndes and Ambrose pitted on different laps; Ambrose choosing to stay out on the circuit a little longer this time. The decision paid off handsomely for the Stone Brothers outfit, as Ambrose claimed the race lead without having to risk a pass on Lowndes, who is generally acknowledged to be the most talented driver in the series.

Further back in the field, Russell Ingall and Steven Richards diced for fourth place. Although Ingall enjoyed the straight line advantage of a Rob Benson / Stone Brothers V8 powerplant, Richards was on form this weekend and was able to hold off Ingall successively.

In fact, not only did Richards block Ingall, he left him behind and set off after the black Holden of Greg Murphy, holed up in third position.

Meanwhile, Garth Tander appeared to be struggling to find pace as he was passed by Skaife, relegating the HSV Racing pilot to eighth place, then by Steven Ellery, dropping him to ninth.

Moments later, Murphy was passed by Richards, who held third place until the chequred flag was taken by Ambrose, closely followed by Lowndes.

Stay tuned to for coverage of Race 2 from the Eastern Creek round of the Australian V8 Supercar Series.

Top Ten: Race 1

1 Marcos Ambrose
2 Craig Lowndes
3 Steven Richards
4 Greg Murphy
5 Russell Ingall
6 Todd Kelly
7 Mark Skaife
8 Steven Ellery
9 Garth Tander
10 Jason Richards



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