Shell Helix Racing's Steve Johnson qualified sixth in the Top Ten Shootout for round nine of the 2003 Australian V8 Supercar Series at Sandown Raceway, gaining places throughout the day.

Under the threat of rain, Johnson took the #17 Falcon forward one place during a nail biting shootout session, securing a place on the third row for tomorrow's opening endurance event.

"It's a long race, and to be placed anywhere in the top ten is a strong position for the race - sixth is fantastic," Johnson said, "We're not going to hose the competition, so now is about making steady improvements and stabilising."

"Steve did a great job out there," co-driver Warren Luff admitted, "Hopefully, we'll be able to get a good result for the team tomorrow."

The second of the Shell Helix Falcons, qualified by team regular Max Wilson, will start tomorrow's 500km race from twelfth spot after just missing out on a shootout place.

"We are still in a competitive position," Wilson, who shares with ALMS regular David Brabham this weekend, said, "Let's see what we can do in the race."

Brabham, unfamiliar with the current breed of Australian V8s after spending the last few years campaigning sports cars in American and Europe, admitted that he was eager to get on with the race.

"I'm looking forward to getting some more miles in the car tomorrow," the Australian said, "It's such a close series, I think it will be a great race."



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