Ambrose Aims to Get V8 Championship Defence back on Track
V8 Champion Marcos Ambrose (Pirtek Racing) has declared that the eighth round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Sydney’s Oran Park on August 13-15 is now the key moment in him winning back-to-back titles.
Ambrose went into the previous round at Winton Motor Raceway (Victoria) with a strong championship lead. However, a collision saw him finish 26th overall and in the process he fell to fourth in the championship hunt.
The Tasmanian is just 25 points behind current points leader Jason Bright, with Steven Richards and Rick Kelly in between. Every point Ambrose can gain on these rivals at Oran Park will be vital in the overall championship picture.
“It’s certainly close and the best way to gap my rivals is to win,” said Ambrose.
“The toughness of the V8 Supercar Championship Series can’t be denied, but we perform best when we really need to win and that’s the goal in both races at Oran Park.
“I won there last year, so it’s a place that does hold very good memories. Like every time we race there’s sure to be a few surprises, but believe me I’ll be more than happy if it’s other drivers people are talking about and it’s clear sailing for us.
“The result at Winton clearly shows that you must fight for every single position on the track. Points right now over my rivals are like gold and you can never have enough.
“This event is critical as the following two races are endurance events where I’ll be sharing the driving duties with Greg Ritter. We want to go into Sandown and Bathurst with the determination of winning and not having to compromising those efforts for the overall championship.”
Last year’s Oran Park round was a strong performance for Ford with Craig Lowndes (CAT Ford Performance Racing) finishing second.
Lowndes recently announced that he was staying with Ford ongoing, with a change in 2005 to Triple Eight Race Engineering.
Despite a number of challengers this year he’s confident that a return to Oran Park could be the catalyst the team needs for a strong finish to the season. He’s also looking forward to the twin-race format this year.
“The decision for the future has been made, but right now I’m concentrating on a strong effort for FPR at Oran Park,” said Lowndes.
“We had an excellent run there last year, with the track really suiting the car and I.
“The two race format instead of the single 300 kilometre event we had last year is sure to provide plenty of action. I’m keen to be right amongst it!
“The Oran Park layout keeps you very busy, but that’s the way I like it.
“I’m determined to win races this year. Getting more Fords up the front will help the Blue Oval win back to back championships.”
The V8 Supercars hit the track for opening practice on the Friday with further practice, qualifying and top-10 shootout on the Saturday. Sunday’s twin 54-lap races include compulsory pit stops for tyres.
V8 Supercar details for Oran Park Raceway
Top 10 Shootout – Saturday 14 August – 4.05pm
Race 1 (54 laps – 118.8km) – Sunday 15 August 11.20am
Race 2 (54 laps – 118.8km) – Sunday 15 August 2.30pm
Circuit: Oran Park Raceway, NSW
Qualifying – Skaife 1:07.4806 (1999)
Shootout – Lowndes 1:08.0671 (2001)
Race – Lowndes 1:08.0631 (1999)
Estimated top speed: 250km/h – Pit Straight
Estimated average speed: 135 km/h
Ford’s V8 Line-up for Oran Park Raceway
#1 Marcos Ambrose Pirtek Racing
#9 Russell Ingall Caltex Havoline Racing
#5 Glenn Seton Ford Credit/FPV Ford Performance Racing
#6 Craig Lowndes CAT Ford Performance Racing
#10 Jason Bargwanna Orrcon Steel Racing
#20 Mark Winterbottom Orrcon Steel Racing
#12 John Bowe OzEmail Race Team
#21 Brad Jones OzEmail Race Team
#17 Steve Johnson Shell Helix Racing
#18 Warren Luff Shell Helix Racing
#23 David Besnard WPS Racing
#48 Mark Noske WPS Racing
#31 Steve Ellery Super Cheap Auto Racing
#88 Paul Radisich Team Betta Electrical
#888 Max Wilson Team Betta Electrical
Ford V8 Milestones at Oran Park
Oran Park debut
Mark Winterbottom - Orrcon Steel Racing
Warren Luff - Shell Helix Racing
32nd birthday (22 August 1972) - Max Wilson - Team Betta Electrical
30th birthday (22 August 1974) - Steve Ellery - Super Cheap Auto Racing
Top-10 – Championship after 7 of 13 Rounds
1. Jason Bright – PWR Racing – Holden Commodore 1131pts
2.Steven Richards – Castrol Perkins Motorsport – Holden Commodore 1126pts
3. Rick Kelly – KMart Racing – Holden Commodore 1110pts
4. Marcos Ambrose – Pirtek Racing – Ford Falcon 1106pts
5. Russell Ingall – Caltex Havoline Racing – Ford Falcon 982pts
6. Greg Murphy – KMart Racing – Holden Commodore 979pts
7. Garth Tander – Valvoline Racing – Holden Commodore 924pts
8. Todd Kelly – Holden Race Team – Holden Commodore 897pts
9. John Bowe – OzEmail Racing – Ford Falcon BA 728pts
10. Jason Bargwanna – Orrcon Steel Racing – Ford Falcon BA 652pts