It didn’t take long for Marcos Ambrose to get back into the swing of things in Australia’s V8 Supercars.
After a disappointing 15th place showing in the first of a two-day SuperTest at Sydney Motorsport Park on Saturday – including being sidelined nearly an hour for clutch repairs – Ambrose came back with a vengeance on Sunday’s second and final day of the test.
Ambrose and the DJR Penske Ford Falcon FG/X finished fifth overall out of the 25-driver field, with a best lap of 1 minute, 30.15 seconds.
That mark was not far off the fastest driver in the test, perennial Supercars favorite Mark Winterbottom, who had a top lap of 1:29.58.
That immediately got fans and Australian media thinking the former NASCAR driver may actually be a legitimate contender to win the Supercar series championship in his first year back in the series in a decade.
It would make for a great storyline, given that Ambrose won the Supercar championships in his native land in 2003 and 2004, and last drove a Supercar in 2005 before moving to NASCAR in 2006 through 2014.
“I feel like we have something to build on now,’’ Ambrose told Australia’s Herald Sun newspaper. “We are just going to keep on improving our team every time we go to a racetrack.
“I am not really thrilled with this weekend’s progress but I am thrilled with how I feel behind the wheel now. It has taken me time just to get any confidence behind the wheel.
“These V8 Supercars are a unique car and they take a bit of getting used to. I think I am slowly getting there.”
Earlier in the day, Ambrose finished 14th in the Armor All Shootout, with a best lap of 1:31.77.
It’s just another step in his becoming reacclimated to Supercars.
“Racing is more about predicting than reacting,’’ Ambrose told the Herald Sun. “When I don’t know what the car is going to do, I can’t predict it.
“I think that is where laps help in the car. I am going to face that at every track I go to this year because I won’t know which way to go. I need to learn how these cars feel and how to drive them fast at each track.
“2015 is a year of learning for all of us here. Hopefully the fans can be patient with me and we will build this team up to be a serious contender but it won’t happen overnight.”
The V8 Supercars season begins Feb. 26-March 1 in the Adelaide’s Clipsal 500.
Result: Session 4, Sydney Motorsport Park SuperTest
|1||Ford Pepsi Max Crew||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||01:29.58|
|2||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||01:29.93||00:00.35|
|3||Freightliner Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Holden Commodore VF||01:29.94||00:00.36|
|4||Erebus Motorsport V8||Will Davison||Mercedes E63 AMG||01:30.10||00:00.52|
|5||DJR Team Penske||Marcos Ambrose||Ford Falcon FG/X||01:30.16||00:00.58|
|6||The Bottle-O Racing Team||David Reynolds||Ford Falcon FG||01:30.17||00:00.59|
|7||Erebus Motorsport V8||Ashley Walsh||Mercedes E63 AMG||01:30.18||00:00.60|
|8||Walkinshaw Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore VF||01:30.18||00:00.60|
|9||Nissan Motorsport||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||01:30.36||00:00.78|
|10||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||01:30.38||00:00.80|
|11||Ford Pepsi Max Crew||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||01:30.47||00:00.89|
|12||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Scott McLaughlin||Volvo S60||01:30.58||00:01.00|
|13||Nissan Motorsport||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||01:30.59||00:01.01|
|14||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore VF||01:30.67||00:01.09|
|15||Nissan Motorsport||James Moffat||Nissan Altima||01:30.76||00:01.18|
|16||Team GB Galvanizing||Dale Wood||Holden Commodore VF||01:30.78||00:01.20|
|17||Team TEKNO Darrell Lea||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||01:30.87||00:01.29|
|18||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VF||01:30.95||00:01.37|
|19||Nissan Motorsport||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||01:30.97||00:01.39|
|20||Red Bull Racing Australia||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||01:31.00||00:01.42|
|21||Supercheap Auto Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore VF||01:31.11||00:01.53|
|22||Wilson Security Racing GRM||David Wall||Volvo S60||01:31.26||00:01.68|
|23||Red Bull Racing Australia||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||01:31.33||00:01.75|
|24||Super Black Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Ford Falcon FG||01:31.92||00:02.34|
|25||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore VF||01:32.42||00:02.84|
Result: Armor All Shootout, Sydney Motorsport Park SuperTest
|1||Ford Pepsi Max Crew||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||01:30.66|
|2||Team TEKNO Darrell Lea||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||01:30.67||00:00.01|
|3||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||01:30.69||00:00.03|
|4||Ford Pepsi Max Crew||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||01:30.71||00:00.06|
|5||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Scott McLaughlin||Volvo S60||01:30.86||00:00.20|
|6||Nissan Motorsport||James Moffat||Nissan Altima||01:31.11||00:00.45|
|7||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VF||01:31.19||00:00.53|
|8||Red Bull Racing Australia||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||01:31.26||00:00.60|
|9||Freightliner Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Holden Commodore VF||01:31.28||00:00.62|
|10||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||01:31.43||00:00.77|
|11||Nissan Motorsport||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||01:31.50||00:00.84|
|12||Red Bull Racing Australia||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||01:31.63||00:00.97|
|13||Supercheap Auto Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore VF||01:31.64||00:00.98|
|14||DJR Team Penske||Marcos Ambrose||Ford Falcon FG/X||01:31.77||00:01.12|
|15||The Bottle-O Racing Team||David Reynolds||Ford Falcon FG||01:31.81||00:01.15|
|16||Erebus Motorsport V8||Will Davison||Mercedes E63 AMG||01:31.88||00:01.22|
|17||LD Motorsprts||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore VF||01:32.19||00:01.53|
|18||Erebus Motorsport V8||Ashley Walsh||Mercedes E63 AMG||01:32.24||00:01.59|
|19||Nissan Motorsport||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||01:32.84||00:02.18|
|20||Super Black Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Ford Falcon FG||01:32.92||00:02.26|
|21||Wilson Security Racing GRM||David Wall||Volvo S60||01:33.36||00:02.70|
|22||LD Motorsports||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore VF||01:33.55||00:02.89|
|23||Team GB Galvanizing||Dale Wood||Holden Commodore VF|
|24||Walkinshaw Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore VF|
|EXC||Nissan Motorsport||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima|
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