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Sports

'Lucky' Ambrose takes pole

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 23, 2013 at 08:30 AM
MONTREAL -

When it rained again at Circuit Gilles Villenueve, Marcos Ambrose was in the driver's seat.

The hard-charging Ambrose, who grew up in rainy Tasmania, turned a fast lap of 80.905 mph over the rain-swept 2.7-mile street course Saturday to capture the pole for today's Nationwide Series NAPA Auto Parts 200. He easily beat Carl Edwards, whose best lap was 80.116 mph but more than a second slower as dusk was beginning to fall.

"It's better to be lucky than good," Ambrose said. "It worked out perfectly. I had a great draw. I went out first in my group, which helped me get clean track. The conditions worked in our favor. The track deteriorated, the daylight disappeared, and we got lucky. We'll take it."

Qualifying began about 45 minutes late and ended as darkness fell and a heavy mist was settling over the track. The cars were fitted with windshield wipers and brake lights.

Ambrose was in the second of eight groups to qualify, and like all the other drivers he was caught off guard.

"Nobody expected to qualify in the rain," said Ambrose, who won at Watkins Glen three weeks ago. "It's been an interesting day."

Especially for Edwards.

Earlier, his first career start in the Grand-Am Rolex Series ended before the green flag waved when he ran off course on the warm-up lap on cold tires and slammed a barrier in the No. 77 Ford Daytona Prototype for Doran Racing. That forced Edwards and his disappointed driving partner, Ambrose, to watch the entire race as they finished last.

Defending race winner Ron Fellows of Canada qualified third.

Showers are in the forecast for today's race.

FORMULA ONE: Giancarlo Fisichella gave Force India its first Formula One pole during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix.

The 36-year-old Italian earned the Indian team its maiden pole with a lap of 1 minute, 46.308 seconds around the high-speed Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Entering its 30th race, Force India has yet to win a point by finishing among the top eight.

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