Super Cheap Auto Racing's Steve Ellery can do little wrong at the moment, as his Sandown and Bathurst form continued into Surfer's Paradise qualifying and placed the team's Ford BA in eighth place.

To have qualified for Saturday afternoon's top ten shootout pleased the entire squad - which had been boosted by the news that both Ford and sponsor Super Cheap Autos had re-confirmed for 2004 - but it was not all smooth sailing for the small eight-man team.

"When Jamie Whincup forced the red flag with only a few minutes remaining in the session, I thought I'd be forced to start Saturday's first race in eleventh," Ellery said, "I felt sure the session might be called there and then, but fortunately it wasn't.

"We started from eleventh at Bathurst, so that might have been a good omen, but starting that low down at Indy makes life very difficult. I knew I had two laps left in the session, so I put everything I had into it and I pulled it off. I'm very happy to be in the shootout."

Ellery had been getting progressively faster over the course of the session and was confident of making the shootout.

"I was consistently shaving off a few tenths here and a few there, so I felt pretty sure that we had a car that would lap in the 1min 51secs bracket," he explained, "In the end, we made that comfortably but, having looked at the telemetry, I know I can put an even better lap together in the shootout. My final lap was pretty good I thought, I didn't do too much wrong, but I just need to sharpen up on turns one and two."

Ellery will be aiming to rise higher in the top-ten, placing the team in good stead for the first race late on Saturday afternoon.

"There's a lot of concrete at Indy and it's extremely difficult to pass, so you have to be right up there to do well," he noted, "I'll be pushing for everything that I can get tomorrow - I won't be relaxing.

"It's a good start to be in the ten, but I need to be up a lot higher. I'll be aiming for the top five for sure. I'm very happy with the BA - it's feeling strong and I'm feeling confident, so everything is looking good."

 

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