The Stone Brothers Racing team had mixed results in official qualifying for the PaceMakers V8 International at Pukekohe Park Raceway in New Zealand, with points leader Marcos Ambrose qualifying sixth in his Pirtek Falcon but Russell Ingall taking only 17th.

Ambrose will contest Saturday's Top Ten Shootout to see if he can progress closer to the front of the grid, but Ingall missed out after battling his Caltex Havoline Ford to 17th spot on the grid for tomorrow afternoon's opening 36-lap race. Amazingly, the top 24 cars were separated by less than a second, but the closeness of the field meant the difference between the two SBR entries.

Ambrose struggled a little in the morning practice sessions, and actually had a rare start in the lower 50 per cent of the field in qualifying, but it round for qualifying to keep up the pressure on those chasing him for the title.

"We lost our way a little at the start of the qualifying session, but we managed to claw it back by the end," he said, "The first run in qualifying was a safe one and then we really had to press on. It was always going to be a lottery as to whether the time would be quick enough for the shootout when you consider how close the times are.

"The good thing is that we are in the top ten and that we have the chance to make a few changes overnight and, hopefully, improve a bit in the shootout."

The Gold Coast-based Tasmanian needs to score a minimum of 121 points over the weekend and finish with seven more round points than Greg Murphy to clinch his first V8 Supercar championship on Sunday.

Ingall, who is also chasing a top-three championship finish, slotted into the top 50 per cent of the field for qualifying, but simply 'missed the set-up' when it mattered.

"That was not the result we wanted," he sighed, "A decision was made to go a certain way with the set-up and it was obviously the not the right one. The car was just not right and you pay a penalty at a place like this where a second separates the top 24 cars.

"It is obviously disappointing after our great qualifying and race effort at the last round at Indy. We just need to put our heads down tomorrow and keep ourselves in the hunt for a top three championship finish."

Murphy took provisional pole for the race with a lap that was under his existing qualifying record.



Loading Comments...