Ingall and Ambrose rewind the clock

  • 09/10/2015
  • By Bruce Newton
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

Marcos Ambrose and Russell Ingall turned back the clock a decade as they sat near the top of the opening practice session at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 this morning.

Back at Mount Panorama for the first time since 2005, Ambrose led the 45 minute co-driver session through its middle stages in the DJR Team Penske XBox Ford Falcon FG X he will share with Scott Pye, before finishing fifth fastest.

But Ingall, who was Ambrose's team-mate at Stone Brothers Racing in 2005 and deposedhim as V8 Supercars champion that year, ended up going slightly faster in the Holden Racing Team Commodore VF, ending the session third.

"It's like the old days, don't write us off just yet," laughed Ingall.

"It's good to put a lap together, and without any stress because I am not auditioning for a drive. So its nice to be able to go out and enjoy myself a bit.

Ingall, who came out of retirement to partner Jack Perkins because of James Courtney's injury, posted his best ever Bathurst time of 2min06.2543sec time this morning, about 1.3sec faster than his qualifying time last year.

Ambrose, meanwhile, was around three seconds faster than his best lap at Mount Panorama in 2005, the year he crashed with Greg Murphy at a safety car restart.

Ingall, 51, said his time was recorded on quite fresh but not green tyres. He confirmed Perkins would qualify the car this afternoon and was confident he find even more pace.

"On greens Jack will do a five this afternoon," Ingall said.

It is 20 years since Ingall teamed up with Jack's dad Larry to record the first of his two Bathurst 1000 victories. He said he had been keeping one of Larry's key pieces of advice to him in mind as HRT sorted the car on Thursday.

"I only ran on one set of tyres yesterday and you always have to look at the big picture," Ingall said. "Larry Perkins always said, 'think of Sunday, don't get caught up in the qualifying grand prix'.

"But in saying that, once you get confidence with the car that rubber makes a big difference. You need to set up on old tyres and have a balance with that because that is what you are going to have towards the end of every stint.

"When you put new tyres on you are going to go faster but if you can go fast on old tyres the gain is going to be greater.

"So that's what I was concentrating on yesterday and I wasn't happy. And there's no use throwing tyres at a bad car because you are just masking the issues.

"So last night we had a good think about it, made a few changes in that session and they were confident enough to put some tyres on it and off we went."

Ambrose, who also set his fastest times on reasonable but not green rubber, was clearly pleased to be on the pace.

"It feels pretty good but the track's in great condition," he said.

"They've really worked on the track in the years since I've been gone and the cars have improved. It's great to have fast cars around here and I think you're going to see a new record this afternoon.

"I'm really proud of the XBox team here this weekend, they've given me some pretty good laps in the car.

"I haven't had tyres yet and I probably wont get tyres until the race but I'm really excited about our form and the car feels really comfortable."

One final all-in practice session runs this morning before qualifying at 3.50pm local time.

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