Ford is in a position to take a unique double-victory in the V8 Supercar Championship Series and the Champ Car World Series on the streets of Surfers Paradise this
weekend.

The Blue Oval will be out to score its eighth win of the V8 Supercar Series in the twin 100-kilometre Gillette Challenge, while it's guaranteed a win in the Champ Car
World Series as it's the official engine supplier in 2003.

The narrow street track is punishing on both car and driver but, with V8 Supercar championship points on the line, there will be no holding back. Pirtek Racing's Marcos Ambrose has a handy lead in the V8 Supercar Championship Series, but he's well aware that the streets of Surfers Paradise will have to be respected.

"In terms of the championship, we have to average a seventh place finish for the rest of the year to take the title," the Tasmanian said, "However, more than any other track, the Gold Coast is a place where mistakes really can ruin your day, so you have to qualify up the front and steer clear of all the mayhem. We'll remain pretty aggressive as we want to get our winning form back and close in on the championship."

Last year's V8 event was full of drama and surprise with Jason Bargwanna and Craig Lowndes finishing on equal points at the end of the two races. Bargwanna was
awarded the round victory, however, as he had won the second race.

After switching teams and manufacturers in 2003, Bargwanna is optimistic about his chances of a repeat this time around.

"Before last year's race, I was probably one of the only people who thought I had a chance, but I made no mistakes and as others fell away we moved forward," he said,
"2002 was a story of contrasting races, with fine sunny weather on the Saturday and then changeable conditions on the Sunday. Both Craig and I made the most of the opportunity in the second race, staying on dry tyres while others gambled on wet tyres and fell back through the pack. It's a great place to win a race as the party atmosphere is always fun and the massive crowds really get behind the V8s.

After finishing second with Glenn Seton at the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at Bathurst, CAT Ford Performance Racing's Craig Lowndes believes the streets of the Gold
Coast could bring further rewards.

"Our team is on a high right now, I feel confident and our car should be well suited to the street layout," he said, "You can't be conservative as the others will eat you alive - it's all about 100 per cent driving all the way. Although it's split in two 100-kilometre races, it's actually one of the toughest events as the stop-and-go nature of street racing is always physically demanding."

The V8s hit the track for practice and qualifying on Friday, with the top ten shootout and the opening 22-lap race on Saturday afternoon. The final race will start just before midday on Sunday.

 

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