SYDNEY, New South Wales, Australia — official series release — Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images AsiaPac photo —
Wildcard Marcos Ambrose has successfully made it to the finish line in his first V8 Supercars race after nine years racing NASCAR in the USA, finishing 20th in the Xbox Ford Falcon FG II.
The two-time category champion was philosophical about the result, which came after he made a mistake in qualifying and crashed, meaning he started down the back — but also meaning he had an entertaining race with his former Stone Brothers Racing teammate Russell Ingall.
“I certainly feel better about doing all these laps and I was disappointed with myself in qualifying when I clipped the wall.” Ambrose told Channel 7’s Mark Larkham. “I was trying to be a good boy out there, I was following my old mate Russell and we had a bit of a [tussle].”
“The biggest issue was the window net kept falling down and I had to keep putting that back up during the race. So I had my hands full there just trying to understand things, new car gremlins and all that.”
Ambrose, who returns to the V8 Supercars Championship full-time in 2015 with the newly-formed DJR Team Penske, must back up for a second 125km race this afternoon. With storm clouds brewing in western Sydney it may be his first wet race in years.
“I haven’t done much road racing either [lately],” he said. “It’s just great to be home and racing Supercars. Once I get more competitive I will feel better about it.”
Ambrose said he is looking forward to tomorrow afternoon’s 250 km championship finale.
“We will pick it up tomorrow and see if we can do better in that longer race.”
Ambrose said he had no doubt the quality of the championship had lifted in his absence and the New Generation V8 Supercars were a different experience to what he was was used to.
“I left winning and come back running 20th, so absolutely no doubt the game has picked up,” said Ambrose. “The cars are very different the way they set them up, so I have a lot ot learn. I feel like the car is kinda upside down for me; everywhere I need grip I’ve got none and everywhere I don’t need it I have got a lot.”