Test­ing time for Ambrose

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Motorsport - STEPHEN OT­T­LEY

MAR­COS Ambrose’s Aussie dream team has split. The for­mer V8 Su­per­car cham­pion has been forced to take on a new crew chief af­ter fel­low Aussie Wal­ter Giles quit the JTG Rac­ing team.

The de­ci­sion comes af­ter Ambrose has en­dured a dis­ap­point­ing start to the Nascar Na­tion­wide Se­ries.

He is 16th in the points stand­ings af­ter six of 35 races. Last year he fin­ished eighth. He has yet to fin­ish a race inside the top 10. Ambrose and Gilles were backed up by fel­low Aus­tralians Ken Douglas and Paul Forgie at the team to cre­ate a Down Un­der brains trust.

‘‘We lost a crew chief on the week­end,’’ Ambrose says, speak­ing from test­ing at Rich­mond In­ter­na­tional Race­way. ‘‘He (Giles) de­cided to part ways with us and that’s re­ally put us on the back foot.

‘‘We’ve had a tough start to our year and to­day is re­ally about Gary Cogswell, who is a crew chief who was work­ing with me in the Truck Se­ries in 2006.

‘‘We’re just try­ing to learn each other again and just get back to ba­sics. So we are go­ing through the mo­tions here, try­ing to get a han­dle on the new crew chief and our sit­u­a­tion.’’

Ambrose has made it clear he wants to be a reg­u­lar front-run­ner this sea­son and is des­per­ate to notch up his first Nascar win af­ter three sea­sons in Amer­ica.

The two-day test at Rich­mond, Vir­ginia, was promis­ing for the Tas­ma­nian. He set the fourth-fastest time in the fi­nal ses­sion.

The test was open to all Nascar Na­tion­wide teams, which helped to give Ambrose con­fi­dence that he is head­ing in the right di­rec­tion with Cogswell.

‘‘What gives us a real ad­van­tage here is that it’s a Nascar-af­fil­i­ated test, so we’re test­ing with other teams and we have a real ref­er­ence for how we are go­ing com­pared to the other teams,’’ he says. ‘‘When you go private test­ing you just don’t have that chance.

‘‘Was the track in good con­di­tion that day? Is the weather help­ing you? Are the tyres you have the same as ev­ery­one else’s? All those kind of things, we know, are out of the equa­tion.’’

Tough start: Mar­cos Ambrose had to get used to a new crew chief while test­ing in Rich­mond, Vir­ginia.

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