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Release Date: 28/07/2002

Marcos Ambrose Leading Ford At Oran Park And Moves To Fourth In The Championship

Marcos Ambrose Leading Ford At Oran Park And Moves To Fourth In The Championship Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose again finished as the leading Ford driver in the seventh round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Sydney's Oran Park Raceway, despite battling a couple of on-track dramas in today's two 58-lap races.

Ambrose finished fourth in the opening race in his Pirtek Falcon despite losing almost 30 seconds and dropping back to 23rd place when a wheel nut failed to engage on the right rear during his compulsory pit stop.

In race two Ambrose dropped back to seventh off the start, but worked his way back through the field to finish second and third overall on the day. The effort helping him back into fourth place in the championship.

He closed the gap enormously on leader Mark Skaife in the closing stages of race two, but a spin on lap 39 on fading tyres cost him about 11 seconds and any chance of victory.

"We are getting closer, but we got beaten with car speed today," said Ambrose.

"The pit stop did not go our way in race one, but we made up two or three places with our stop in race two.

"I think we are probably too aggressive on our tyres in race trim and once my rears went way that was it for me.

"When I spun in race two I was just hoping not to get bogged in the sand.

"I had the wheels spinning before I stopped and just managed to get out ahead of Richo (Steve Richards) and Brighty (Jason Bright) and maintain my position.

"I could not see a thing when I came out of the trap because the car was full of dirt and dust.

"I think this team has tremendous potential and as the budget and experience grows we will start to realise more of it."

Ambrose's teammate David Besnard finished 19th in race one after a drive through penalty and then did a fantastic job to fight his way through sixth in race two in his Caltex Havoline Falcon.

He managed his results despite battling a stomach bug all weekend and actually spent 40 minutes on a drip with Ford medical staff in between races.

Besnard finished 10th overall today and maintained eighth place in the championship.

"The car was better in race two, but once we had worked ourselves through to sixth it was hard to do anything else because we had used up our tyres," said Besnard.

"The second race was pretty clean considering the dramas through race one.

"I did not feel great at all today, but that is no excuse for anything. We were hoping for a better result after being second here last year.

"I am determined to go back and look at things and make sure were are ready for the best possible result in the next round at Winton."

In race one Ambrose got way to a fantastic start from the pole and had a comfortable lead until he pitted on lap six and the drama with the wheel nut unfolded.

When he finally returned to the track he was in 23rd position, although several cars were still to make their compulsory stop.

Besnard got off to a great start and made up four places to ninth on the opening lap.

Greg Murphy and Russell Ingall managed to sneak by him mid-way through lap three, but just 200m down the track Murphy spun and Besnard narrowly avoided him to take back one spot.

Cameron McConville spun into the sand trap at turn one and brought out the first safety car on lap 14 and by that time Ambrose and Besnard were sitting 14th and 15th respectively with still four cars in front of them to make their stop.

By the time a second safety car came out on lap 27 Ambrose was in ninth and Besnard 10th.

On lap 40 Besnard tapped Paul Radisich during a dice on the exit of turn one and was given a drive through penalty and dropped from eighth back to 28th place.

Ambrose continued to work his way through the field and finally got to fourth which is where he finally finished.

Besnard battled on to eventually finish 19th and collect 14 valuable championship points.

The next round of the championship will be at Winton Raceway in North-East Victoria on August 16-18.

1: Mark Skaife (Holden) 58 Laps
2: Jason Bright (Holden)
3: Steve Richards (Holden)
4: Marcos Ambrose (Ford)
5: Russell Ingall (Holden)
6: Steve Ellery (Ford)
7: Neil Crompton (Ford)
8: Rick Kelly (Holden)
9: Glenn Seton (Ford)
10: Garth Tander (Holden)
11: Tony Longhurst (Ford)
12: Craig Lowndes (Ford)
13: Paul Radisich (Ford)
14: Paul Morris (Holden)
15: Simon Wills (Ford)
16: John Faulkner (Holden)
17: Craig Baird (Holden)
18: Jason Richards (Holden)
19: David Besnard (Ford)
20: Larry Perkins (Holden)
21: Paul Romano (Holden)
22: Wayne Wakefield (Holden)
23: Anthony Tratt (Ford)
24: Max Wilson (F0rd)
25: Steve Johnson (Ford)
26: Cameron McLean (Ford) - 57 Laps
27: Mark Larkham (Ford)
28: Brad Jones (Ford) - 56 Laps
DNF: Jason Bargwanna (Holden) - 55 Laps
DNF: Dugal McDougal (Holden) - 44 Laps
DNF: John Bowe (Ford) - 42 Laps
DNF: Todd Kelly (Holden) - 41 Laps
DNF: Greg Murphy (Holden) - 32 Laps
DNF: Paul Weel (Ford) - 26 Laps
DNF: Rodney Forbes (Ford) - 26 Laps
DNF: Cameron McConville (Holden) - 14 Laps

1: Mark Skaife (Holden) - 58 Laps
2: Marcos Ambrose (Ford)
3: Jason Bright (Holden)
4: Steve Richards (Holden)
5: Russell Ingall (Holden)
6: David Besnard (Ford)
7: Craig Lowndes (Ford)
8: Steve Ellery (Ford)
9: Garth Tander (Holden)
10: Neil Crompton (Ford)
11: Tony Longhurst (Ford)
12: John Bowe (Ford)
13: Glenn Seton (Ford)
14: Cameron McConville (Holden)
15: Rick Kelly (Holden)
16: Anthony Tratt (Ford) - 57 Laps
17: Simon Wills (Ford)
18: Mark Larkham (Ford)
19: John Faulkner (Holden)
20: Paul Radisich (Ford)
21: Wayne Wakefield (Holden)
22: Rodney Forbes (Ford)
23: Greg Murphy (Holden)
24: Dugal McDougal (Holden)
25: Jason Richards (Holden)
26: Cameron McLean (Ford)
27: Larry Perkins (Holden)
28: Jason Bargwanna (Holden) - 54 Laps
DNF: Craig Baird (Holden) - 45 Laps
DNF: Paul Weel (Ford) - 29 Laps
DNF: Paul Romano (Holden)
DNF: Max Wilson (Ford) - 2 Laps
DNF: Steve Johnson (Ford)
DNF: Brad Jones (Ford)
DNF: Paul Morris (Holden) - 1 Lap
DNF: Todd Kelly (Holden)

1: Mark Skaife (Holden) 200
2: Jason Bright (Holden) 144
3: Marcos Ambrose (Ford) 132
4: Steve Richards (Holden) 116
5: Russell Ingall (Holden) 88
6: Steve Ellery (Ford) 72
7: Neil Crompton (Ford) 64
8: Craig Lowndes (Ford) 60
9: Garth Tander (Holden) 58
10: David Besnard (Ford) 54

1: Mark Skaife (Holden) 1693
2: Jason Bright (Holden) 896
3: Greg Murphy (Holden) 894
4: Marcos Ambrose (Ford) 809
5: Todd Kelly (Holden) 802
6: Steve Richards (Holden) 731
7: Craig Lowndes (Ford) 714
8:David Besnard (Ford) 561
9: Garth Tander (Holden) 559
10: Tony Longhurst (Ford) 487
11: Russell Ingall (Holden) 486
12: John Bowe (Ford) 437

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