Round 2 - Eastern Creek Part 2 Qualifying
8/4/2004 15:49 (Danielle Schwerin) -
The Saturday Afternoon Qualifying Sessions
The Saturday morning practice sessions, those that count on race weekends, had left some interesting names out of the top 50%; David Besnard, Rick Kelly, Greg Murphy, Cameron McConville, Jason Bargwanna, and Round 1ís surprise qualifier Steve Ellery. At 1:50pm they rolled out onto the track, ready to put in their best and hopefully achieve a lap good enough to keep them in the top ten, for the shootout.
20 minutes later, those names that could have easily been in the top 50% had swapped positions amongst themselves and the order appeared, Murphy (1:32.6010), R. Kelly, Bargwanna, J. Richards, Jones, Dumbrell, McConville, Winterbottom, Johnson, Brede, Tratt, Longhurst, Porter, Thexton, Scifleet, and Krause.
Skaifeís first flyer (1:32.1027) was enough to knock Murphy out of p1, and although he never bettered this lap it landed him p2 overall. One by one the lower half exited the top ten as the times of the drivers in the top 50% edged closer to that of Skaife, and with 13 minutes to go, none save Murphy remained.
With eight minutes remaining in the session, Steven Richards found some speed and forced his way from 8th position into 2nd. Three minutes later Todd Kelly joined the ten, putting his car in what would end up 5th position.
With less than two minutes to go John Bowe put in the first 1:31 of the weekend, earning himself provisional pole, with no time remaining for others to mount a serious offensive. Strike one to Ford, and Murphy removed to 11th.
Simon Wills final flyer, in the dying moments of the session, was enough to secure him the final spot in the ten. In all six Holdenís and four Fordís had made the shootout later that afternoon, which included Bowe, Skaife, Ingall, S. Richards, Kelly, Ambrose, Bright, Morris, Radisich, and Wills. Three cars however were headed home, Thexton, Scifleet, and Krause had failed to achieve a time inside the 105% qualifying margin.
P1 12 John Bowe Ozemail Racing Team 1:31.8820
P2 2 Mark Skaife Holden Racing Team +.2207
P3 9 Russell Ingall Caltex Havoline Racing Team +.3093
P4 11 Steven Richards Castrol Perkins Motorsport +.3833
P5 22 Todd Kelly Holden Racing Team +.4112
P6 1 Marcos Ambrose Pirtek Racing +.4499
P7 50 Jason Bright PWR Performance Products +.4501
P8 29 Paul Morris Sirromet Ė Life, Style, Wines +.4550
P9 88 Paul Radisich Team Betta Electrical +.5123
P10 44 Simon Wills Holy Grail Wine/Alphawest +.5498
P11 888 Max Wilson Team Betta Electrical +.6034
P12 51 Greg Murphy Kmart Racing +.7190
P13 16 Paul Weel PWR Performance Products +.7688
P14 5 Glenn Seton Ford Performance Racing +.8053
P15 6 Craig Lowndes Ford Performance Racing +.8651
P16 34 Garth Tander Repco Valvoline Cummins Team +.9340
P17 15 Rick Kelly Kmart Racing +1.0589
P18 021 Craig Baird Team Kiwi Racing +1.1043
P19 10 Jason Bargwanna Larkham Orrcon Racing +1.1217
P20 3 Jason Richards Tasman Motorsport +1.1892
P21 18 Warren Luff Shell Helix Racing +1.4324
P22 21 Brad Jones Ozemail Racing Team +1.4566
P23 8 Paul Dumbrell Castrol Perkins Motorsport +1.5722
P24 33 Cameron McConville Repco Valvoline Cummins Team +1.5930
P25 20 Mark Winterbottom Larkham Orrcon Racing +1.7338
P26 23 David Besnard WPS Racing +1.7567
P27 17 Steven Johnson Shell Helix Racing +1.8308
P28 31 Steve Ellery Super Cheap Auto Racing +1.8436
P29 45 Dale Brede Holy Grail Wine/Alphawest +2.5582
P30 75 Anthony Tratt Toll Racing +2.9344
P31 7 Tony Longhurst Castrol Perkins Motorsport +2.9718
P32 14 Mark Porter IMS Ė Hydralink +3.0451
P33 99 David Thexton thexton.com.au DNQ
P34 24 Phillip Scifleet Romano Racing DNQ
P35 43 David Krause PWR Performance Products DNQ
One-lap qualifiers are always difficult to gauge in advance. Ambroseís provisional pole in Adelaide had made many expect that he would easily take the shootout too; As was the case with Bowe at Eastern Creek, having been the only car to crack that 1:31ís all weekend.
Fifth out for his lap was Ambrose, becoming only the second driver to crack the 31ís, and also the only driver to achieve a 26 second first sector time. The lap was good enough for provisional pole with another 5 cars laying in wait to knock him down the order. T. Kelly and S. Richards failed to top him, and team mate Ingallís lap a few minutes later was slow by SBR standards, putting him ultimately in P6.
Saturday also being Skaifeís birthday, he greatly would have loved to achieve pole position, which would have put an end to all speculation surrounding his HRTís capabilities following their poor Adelaide performance. His lap was however only fast enough only for second, having been plagued by a number of minor mistakes that made the lap appear far slower than it was.
Last car out Bowe, and the anticipation of this lap eventuating as a blinder was thick. All eyes were divided between the SBR pit garage and the number 12 Ozemail car. (Channel 10 obliging on the screens with a split image.) He went into turn 1 hot, carrying serious speed, the speed however followed him into the turn two hairpin and, unfortunately for Bowe and his team, the car was off the track, and all hope of beating Ambrose out of pole was lost. While team boss Kim Jones cringed in the Ozemail Racing garage, Jimi Stone and Marcos were busy celebrating at Stone Brothers having just put Car 1 on grid position one, and Ford still had its pole.
Top Ten Shootout:
P1 1 Marcos Ambrose Pirtek Racing 1:31.9206
P2 2 Mark Skaife Holden Racing Team 1:32.0308
P3 11 Steven Richards Castrol Perkins Motorsport 1:32.1352
P4 50 Jason Bright PWR Performance Products 1:32.4064
P5 22 Todd Kelly Holden Racing Team 1:32.4313
P6 9 Russell Ingall Caltex Havoline Race Team 1:32.6623
P7 29 Paul Morris Sirromet Ė Life, Style, Wines 1:32.6730
P8 45 Simon Wills Holy Grail Wine/Alphawest 1:32.9307
P9 88 Paul Radisich Team Betta Electrical 1:33.0298
P10 12 John Bowe Ozemail Racing Team 1:38.9650