Sandown: Stone Brothers Racing preview

The following is a detailed lap of Sandown International Raceway to be used as the venue for the ninth round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series on September 10-12. Also find following thoughts, results and memorable moments relating to this ...

Sandown: Stone Brothers Racing preview

The following is a detailed lap of Sandown International Raceway to be used as the venue for the ninth round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series on September 10-12. Also find following thoughts, results and memorable moments relating to this venue from both Marcos Ambrose and Russell Ingall.

INTERESTING POINTS FOR BETTA ELECTRICAL SANDOWN 500

Marcos Ambrose will co-drive with Greg Ritter in Pirtek Falcon for this event while Russell Ingall will team up with Cameron McLean in the Caltex Havoline Ford

Ambrose and Ingall were leading this event last year when Ingall ended up in the sand at turn one after finding himself with a "soft" brake pedal after a brake pad change. The pair fought back from 28th to finish a strong fifth in terrible conditions.

The Betta Electrical Sandown 500 returned to Melbourne last year after the traditional endurance race was lost to Queensland for several seasons.

SANDOWN INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY -- A LAP WITH MARCOS AMBROSE

While Sandown is not necessarily one of the toughest tracks technically, it still takes plenty to milk a good time out of it.

Basically the track is a couple of long straights with a few left and rights at each end.

As you head down the main straight it is great to have a big grandstand on the right-hand side -- it really adds to the atmosphere of the place.

The braking zone for the first corner is very bumpy and the smoother entry into the corner is actually off the preferred racing line.

This is a great corner and you can really attack it, but it is slower than you think and you use the kerbs on the inside and outside to balance the car.

You stay in third gear for the short-shoot up to a right-left-left combination -- I try and straight line the car through the first part of this section, hitting the kerbs pretty hard.

You then click down to second gear for the left-hander on to the back straight.

There is a small kink as you accelerate up the back straight, but there is nothing in this and you take it flat out.

You hit top gear and about 260kph about half-way up the hill on the back straight -- depending on which way the wind is blowing.

As you come up over the hill your brain is telling you to stop, but you need to keep going. There is Armco close to the right-hand side and this part of the track is mentally pretty challenging as you head into the left-hander.

You attack this corner in sixth gear to keep up your momentum for the following chicane -- this is my favourite part of the track.

Again, you try and treat this as a straight line before reaching Dandenong Road Corner.

The hardest part of this is getting into the corner and you need to bounce off the kerb on the outside to get the car straight.

It is then down another short shoot which has a slight kink mid-way.

The next part of the track is called turn 11, but really it is a long braking zone rather than a corner.

You can make up a lot of time here by using the left-hand kerb, but you need to be careful not to grab a wheel.

You are then hard on the gas for turn 12 which seems to go on for ever on to the front straight.

This part of the track is pretty bumpy and it is amazing how different cars can look going through this section of the track.

So much depends on how you car is set up and how you have come through the corner before.

If you get everything right you should end up with a lap around the one minute and 11-second mark.

THOUGHTS ON SANDOWN INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY--..

MARCOS AMBROSE -- PIRTEK RACING
This is a very exciting track because it creates no shortage of action. There are no high-speed corners. It comes down to 90- degree corners and long straights. I think the return of the 500km race format at Sandown has given us back a little bit of history.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT
There is no doubt that our performance at Sandown in 2002 was one of the most dominating race weekends I have been a part of. SBR topped the time sheets in every session and we ran away with the races.

RUSSELL INGALL -- CALTEX HAVOLINE RACING
Commonly known as the Jon Davison 500, it was great to see a bit of tradition return to the championship last year. Endurance races are always a tough deal, but like Bathurst, the straights here give you a little bit of a rest. As we get to the business end of the season, this race is going to play a vital role in the outcome of the championship.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT
The year that we won the 500 (1998) I lapped (Mark) Skaife who was in third place. Last year I beached the car after failing to pump the brake pedal enough after the pad change. I managed to make up for it a bit by racing my way back through the field to finish fifth, but we won't be in that situation again.

A LOOK AT OUR CO-DRIVERS

CAMERON McLEAN

Cameron McLean has earned an impressive reputation in many categories. In 1995 he was Australian Sports Sedan Champion. He was also Independents' Champion in the Super Touring series of 1997 and 1998. Cameron's 1998 achievements earned him the title of BMW Motorsport's most successful international driver. Cameron joined the V8 Supercar ranks in 1999 racing an ex-Dick Johnson EL Ford Falcon. His impressive and consistent performance gained him that year's Privateer Championship. He debuted at Bathurst in 1997 in a works Volvo, finishing fifth, and has raced at the Mountain many times since. His best results have been fourth outright in 2000 and 2001, driving a Falcon AU for Dick Johnson Racing.

GREG RITTER

Greg Ritter is the son of Graham 'Tubby' Ritter, a spectacular and popular driver of the '60s and 70s who achieved success in a variety of Ford Escort Touring Cars and Sports Sedans. Like so many drivers, Greg started in Go-Karts winning one state and one national title. He went on to compete in Formula Ford for three years winning the national title in 1999 after a hard fought season-long battle. Greg had his debut drive of a V8 Supercar for Garry Rogers Motorsport at the inaugural Queensland 500 in September 1999.

Having little test time in the team's VT Commodore, Ritter and Matthew Coleman finished a creditable 12th place. A questionable Stop-Go penalty robbed them of a possible top 10, finish. That same season Ritter paired with Steve Owen to finish ninth at Bathurst 1000. After some impressive drives GRM he stepped back aboard a privateer Commodore to contest the Shell series Clipsal 500 double-header in Adelaide, finishing 22nd and 23rd in an impressive but under-funded effort. In 2001 Ritter was signed by Dick Johnson Racing, qualified the DJR Falcon in the top-15 at both Queensland and Bathurst, and teamed with Cameron McLean to finish with a fourth placing at Mount Panorama. His talents earned him a place as full-time test driver, as well as endurance driver in 2002. He also contested selected rounds in the #71 DJR Falcon. Ritter gained a full time drive in 00 Motorsport Ford Falcon for season 2003, but has been left without a full-time ride this season. His one V8 Supercar drive this year was in the final round of the Konica Minolta Series at Mallala in August.

WEEKEND SCHEDULE
V8 SUPERCARS (All times Eastern Standard)

Friday
10.35-11.35am -- Practice 1
2.15pm-2.45pm -- Practice 2 (Co-driver only)

Saturday
9.45am-10.30am -- Practice session
12.40-1pm - Qualifying (Lower 50%)
1.05pm-1.25pm - Qualifying (Upper 50%)
3.15pm-3.45pm - Top Ten Shootout

Sunday
10.00am-10.20am -- Warm-up
1.00pm-4.45pm -- Race (161 Laps)

TV TELECAST -- NETWORK TEN
Sunday -- September 12, 2004 (Eastern Standard Time) Noon-5pm -- Round 9 V8 Supercar Championship Series

-sbr-

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