Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose will be chasing his first V8 Supercar Championship when he heads to the VIP Petfoods Main Event final round at Eastern Creek Raceway in three weeks time.

Ambrose was eleventh outright in round 12 at the PlaceMaker V8 International in New Zealand today after finishing sixth in yesterday's opening race and 23rd and ninth respectively in today's pair of 54 lap races in his Pirtek Falcon.

The round was won by Kiwi Greg Murphy, from Mark Skaife and Todd Kelly.

Ambrose still leads Murphy by 24 points after each driver drops his worst round while Skaife is another 46 points back in third.

Ambrose's SBR team-mate Russell Ingall sits fourth in the championship in his Caltex Havoline Ford after finishing 16th outright this weekend.

Ingall did a fantastic job in race two today to path the way through the field with Ambrose in tow. The pair ran bumper to bumper to charge from 19th and 20th respectively to inside the top ten.

It was the teamwork by the pair which has helped Ambrose maintain a reasonable, but reduced, points buffer heading into the final round.

"It has been a very tough weekend for us," said Ambrose. "We had the car speed when we had the chance, but things just did not fall our way. We still have a points break and we need gather things up and head to Eastern Creek chasing a win.

"The most frustrating thing about today was that the hardest cars to pass were other Fords."

Ingall sits fourth in the championship and is likely to maintain that position after the final round. His drive in the final race today was considered one of the performances of the weekend.

"I had no choice than to drive as hard as I could in the second race today and try and open up a few holes for Marcos," said Ingall. "Marcos could not take any risks so I just had to get out there see what we could do.

"The car was a lot better in race three, just a couple of races too late.

"It was a tough weekend all round for SBR, but that's behind us now and we need to go to Eastern Creek with only the championship on our mind."

Race one started OK with Ambrose slotting into sixth off the line and Ingall in 18th.

Ingall stopped for a compulsory tyre change on lap five and picked up several spots thanks to a lightening 5.8-second pit stop.

Ambrose pitted a lap later, but had a wheel nut problem and lost more than eight seconds. Ambrose fought back a few places, but went a lap down when he received a puncture after flat spotting a tyre on lap 33.

Unfortunately a safety car came out half a lap too late for Ambrose for him to avoid going a lap down and he finished 23rd.

All the good pit work for Ingall was lost on lap 27 when he was hit and turned into the armco by Brad Jones. The incident damaged the rear of Ingall's car and caused a vibration which encouraged Ingall to make a couple of extra pit stops with what he thought were damaged rear tyres.
In the end he finished two laps down and in 26th place.

Ambrose and Ingall both made good starts in race three and made up several spots in the opening laps. Ingall finally pitted on lap 24, but lost valuable seconds after problem with pit equipment.

Ambrose also lost a couple of seconds when he stalled in the pits after his compulsory tyre change on lap 33 and rejoined the field just ahead of Ingall.

Despite several attempts to pass cars and make progress, Ambrose could not make any ground. He swapped places with Ingall and together the pair charged through the field together.

The final round will be held at Eastern Creek on November 28-30.



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