<b>FORD AIMS TO EXTEND WINNING STREAK AT ORAN PARK</b>
Ford will be out to extend its winning streak to seven straight when the V8 Supercar Championship Series rolls into Sydney’s Oran Park this weekend for round eight.
Another win for the Blue Oval would be the best streak since 1993 when John Bowe (Shell Helix Racing) won the opening round, before Peter Jackson Racing teammates Glenn Seton and Alan Jones combined to win the next six straight.
Stone Brothers Racing duo of Marcos Ambrose (Pirtek Racing) and Russell Ingall (Caltex Havoline Racing) have combined to win five straight rounds of this year’s title chase. A win to either driver at Oran Park would equal the consecutive Ford team winning streak of Seton and Jones; another ironic twist back to 1993.
Stone Brothers Racing’s 1-2 finish at the recent Big Pond 300 at Queensland Raceway was the first for a Ford team since Shell Helix Racing at the Bathurst sprint round in 1996. If they repeat that effort at Oran Park, it will be the first time since 1990 (Bowe and Dick Johnson) that a Ford team has scored consecutive 1-2 finishes.
Standing in the way of Stone Brothers Racing is a fleet of other Falcon teams, as well as a Ford track hoodoo that extends back to Bowe’s victory in 1995.
If Ford wins this weekend, it will mean that it can’t be beaten for round wins over the season. The last time Ford won more rounds than Holden in a season was back in 1995 when it scored eight round wins to two.
The last time the V8 Supercars were in Sydney at Eastern Creek in early May, Ford finished 1-2-3, Ambrose winning from Lowndes with Ingall in third.
“This will be a tough race, both because of the competition but also the length of the single 300 kilometre race,” said Ingall.
“This will be the longest single race held at the track. In the past we’ve either had two or three races to break up the day.
“Oran Park is a punishing tracking with four major right hand as well as left hand bends. This means the tyres get chewed up pretty quickly.
“It’s going to come down to having a car that has good balance throughout the entire race. I have been really impressed with our car’s balance this year; it remains strong throughout and means it’s easy to take care of the tyres.”
Sitting second in the championship Ambrose is fully aware that another strong showing at Oran Park will strengthen his title hopes.
“The goal at Oran Park is no different to anywhere else, it’s to win,” said Ambrose.
“Last year we took pole, but a slow tyre stop knocked us back. Our crew has been the pick of the bunch in the pitlane this year and I’m looking forward to being in a position to challenge again at Oran Park.
“It seems that every place we go this year we’re out to set a new benchmark for Ford. It’s great to know that our team is setting the standard and that the Ford fans are behind us at every race”.
The itinerary for Oran Park includes practice on Friday, practice, qualifying and the top-10 shootout on the Saturday, with the 300-kilometre race on Sunday.
Sydney race fans will get the chance to dine and chat with their favourite Ford V8 Supercar driver at the Ford V8 Superbreakfast to be held at Rosehill Racecourse on Friday 15 August from 7.30am.
The event will include driver interviews, highlights of the 2003 season, giveaways and the chance to meet all of Ford’s star-studded line-up.
Tickets are priced at $80 (including GST) each with early buyers having the chance to have one of the Ford drivers sit at their table.
Tickets information is available by calling 02-9437 1652 or via email at [email protected]
Further information on the event can be found at www.fordracing.ford.com.au
Top-10 Championship after 7 of 13 Rounds
1. Jason Bright – Team Brock – Holden Commodore 1,195pts
2. Marcos Ambrose – Pirtek Racing – Ford Falcon BA 1,159pts
3. Greg Murphy – KMart Racing – Holden Commodore 1,101pts
4. Russell Ingall – Caltex Havoline Racing – Ford Falcon BA 1,1013
5. Paul Weel – Team Brock – Holden Commodore 1,007 pts
6. Steven Richards – Team Castrol Perkins – Holden Commodore 992pts
7. Mark Skaife – Holden Race Team – Holden Commodore 965pts
8. Craig Lowndes – CAT Ford Performance Racing – Ford Falcon BA 908pts
9. Rick Kelly – KMart Racing – Holden Commodore 898pts
10. Paul Radisich – Team Betta Electrical – Ford Falcon BA 836pts
Details for Oran Park Raceway
Top 10 Shootout – Saturday – 3.40pm
Race (111 laps – 299.7km) – Sunday 1pm
Circuit: Oran Park Raceway, NSW
Qualifying – Johnson 1:07.9145 (2001)
Shootout – Lowndes 1:08.0671 (2001)
Race – Lowndes 1:08.0631 (1999)
Estimated top speed: 245km/h – Pit Straight
Estimated average speed: 135 km/h
Ford’s V8 Line-up for Oran Park
#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
#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
#75 Anthony Tratt -Toll Racing