Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Sydney Australia
Ambrose aims to equal Ford great at Queensland V8 Supercars
From Ford Media:
The hottest driver in V8 Supercars, Pirtek Racing’s Marcos Ambrose, has all eyes focused on his chase for a fifth straight win in this year’s Championship Series at Queensland Raceway July 20.
Victory at Willowbank would equal the Ford record set by legend Allan Moffat in 1977. Moffat not only went on to win the championship, but also scored Ford’s famous 1-2 win at Bathurst, finishing side-by-side with teammate Colin Bond.
A championship challenge is what drives Ambrose at Queensland Raceway, as although he’s won four of the six rounds contested in 2003, he’s only placed third in the championship due to a points system that pays consistency and not just winning.
After victories at Eastern Creek (NSW), Winton (Victoria), Barbagallo (WA) and Hidden Valley (NT), Ambrose finally brings home his Stone Brothers Racing prepared Falcon BA for the shot at five-straight.
Queensland Raceway is the team’s dedicated test circuit, and although the 26-year-old has raced there only twice, both times he started from pole.
Formerly a 500km endurance race with two drivers, this year the event switches to a single driver 300km race.
The fact that the Tasmanian has won four straight, it’s the team’s home test track and he will not have to share the driver’s seat have all combined to place him as the hot favourite.
“The result is far from a done deal – this is motor racing and nothing is ever a certainty,” said Ambrose.
“We will have a strong package, there’s no doubt about that, but staying on top is very hard work and when you’re the focus of everyone’s attention you feel it.
“I don’t feel pressure on trying to equal Allan’s record; I’m motivated by the championship chase as well as winning as many races as I can.
“As the first few months of the year featured interstate races we had not tested in quite a while. We tested last Friday and we will be very well prepared for the race at Queensland Raceway.
“I feel that the biggest competition will come from defending champion Mark Skaife, as well as the many other Ford teams that are Queensland-based and who all test at Willowbank.
“Our winning streak has been a big motivator in the team and the boys continue to work on making improvements. It’s great to be in an environment where everyone wants success as much as you do.”
The spirit of teamwork within Stone Brothers Racing is something that has impressed many, including the man Ambrose is chasing, Allan Moffat.
“Success in top level motor sport does not come by accident. It’s all about a great team and driver,” said Moffat.
“It may have taken 26 years for someone to come along and be in a position to equal my record, but I’d be more than happy for Marcos to do it as he and the entire team really deserve it.
“I’m impressed in many ways, but to be in just his third season and be in a position to win five-straight is clearly a sign of a great driver”.
Ambrose may not have won a championship round at Queensland, but the Stone Brothers Racing team did take the title last year with former driver David Besnard.
Now part of the Ford Performance Racing team, Besnard will step into a BA model for the first time at Willowbank, after his new car was completed just days ahead of the race.
“Last year was my first V8 Supercar victory and it would be great to back that up with a win for my new team this weekend,” said Besnard.
“This year will be a lot tougher. Marcos is absolutely the man to beat, but with a new car and our team continuing to improve I’m going to give it a real go.
“Our team tested at Phillip Island last week and we’ve made some strong gains. Over 300 kilometres of racing we’ll be up there.”
After two rounds in Perth and Darwin that were made up of three sprint races, a return to the single 300km race also means the return of fuel as well as tyre stops. Picking the right time to stop will be critical on the short Queensland Raceway layout.
The itinerary for the Queensland Raceway includes practice on Friday, practice and qualifying on the Saturday, with the top-10 shootout and the 300-kilometre race both on the Sunday.
CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER SIX OF 13 ROUNDS
1. Jason Bright – Team Brock – Holden Commodore 1027pts
2: Steve Richards – Castrol Perkins Racing – Holden Commodore 992pts
3. Marcos Ambrose – Pirtek Racing – Ford Falcon BA 973pts
4. Greg Murphy – KMart Racing – Holden Commodore 951pts
5. Mark Skaife – Holden Race Team – Holden Commodore 929pts
6. Paul Weel – Team Brock – Holden Commodore 869pts
7. Russell Ingall – Caltex Havoline Racing – Ford Falcon BA 821pts
8. Paul Radisich – Team Betta Electrical – Ford Falcon BA 792pts
9: Rick Kelly - KMart Racing – Holden Commodore 779pts
10. Garth Tander – Valvoline Racing – Holden Commodore 778pts
Details for Queensland Raceway
Top 10 Shootout – Sunday 20 July – 11am
Race (96 laps – 299.52km) – Sunday 1.30pm
Circuit: Queensland Raceway, Willowbank
Qualifying – Ingall 1:09.9367 (2001)
Shootout – Ambrose 1:10.5326 (2001)
Race – Tander 1:11.0033 (1999)
Estimated top speed: 250km/h – Back Straight
Estimated average speed: 155 km/h
Ford’s V8 Line-up for Queensland
#4 Marcos Ambrose - Pirtek Racing
#9 Russell Ingall - Caltex Havoline Racing
#5 Glenn Seton - Ford Performance Racing
#6 Craig Lowndes - Ford Performance Racing
#19 David Besnard - Ford Performance Racing
#00 Greg Ritter - 00 Motorsport
#7 Rodney Forbes - 00 Motorsport
#10 Mark Larkham - Orrcon Steel Racing
#20 Jason Bargwanna - Orrcon Steel Racing
#17 Steve Johnson - Shell Helix Racing
#18 Max Wilson - Shell Helix Racing
#21 Brad Jones - OzEmail Race Team
#888 John Bowe - OzEmail Race Team
#23 Mark Noske - INXS Team Ford
#31 Steve Ellery - Super Cheap Auto Racing
#65 Paul Radisich - Team Betta Electrical
#66 Dean Canto - Team Betta Electrical