Former Socceroo World Cup star, Brett Emerton, has scored pole position for the first race of the Mazda3 Celebrity Challenge at the 2014 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix.

Australia's three time Tour de France green jersey winner, Robbie McEwen, will share the front row alongside Emerton, with English adventurer Charley Boorman finishing third in today's qualifying session at Albert Park.

The grid of 20 stars completed two practice sessions prior to qualifying to learn the nuances of the street circuit following an intensive three day driver training course at Sandown Raceway.

Headed by Mark Skaife, driver training taught the celebrities how to drive at speed, approach and exit an apex, take the racing line and how to safely overtake.

The fastest female on the track was Olympic gold medallist Lydia Lassila, who placed sixth overall. Like Boorman, Lassila started the event off cautiously, building up speed from session to session, while Emerton and McEwen have been the ones to watch from the get go.

Grease star Rob Mills and The Bachelor personality Tim Robards rounded out the top five followed by Lassila, with Tommy Little, Torah Bright, Rachael Finch and channel nine sports presenter Clint Stanaway making up the 10.

The Mazda3 Celebrity Challenge continues tomorrow with the first of two five lap races, followed by a second and final race on Sunday.

For further information on the Mazda3 Celebrity Challenge drivers go to

Driver Quotes

First place: What Brett Emerton had to say?
"Pole position feels good, now I just need to try and shut out Robbie (McEwen) because I'm sure he will be hot on my heels. The more you drive around the track the more you get to know it and the faster your lap times. It was a lot of fun out there, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
Second place: What Robbie McEwen had to say?
"A front row starting place is great but you'd rather be right up front as it easier to defend on this circuit rather than pass, and Brett Emerton is a natural born defender. It's very hard to pass without making mistakes so let's see if I can put a bit of pressure on him. When you have things under control it's a great circuit to drive, I'm really enjoying it. I'd like to win the race but I need to try and get off the mark well and maintain position into turn one tomorrow, and then drive clean and fast."

Third: What Charley Boorman had to say?
"Yesterday I found myself at the bottom of the leader board and I couldn't quite figure out why. You start doubting and questioning yourself and all that kind of stuff. I had a little glimpse of what it must be like for these professionals who live like that all the time. I'm back on pace today and I finished up third on the grid, and I'm on the inside which is good. It's amazing fun because you're barrelling along, but then you look at the V8 guys steaming past and then you see us - but it's all relative. It's great fun to be amongst it."

Sixth: What Lydia Lassila had to say?
"Yesterday was the first day on the track, Mark Skaife told us to take it slow, be safe and get to know the track. This morning I tried to put some space between the cars, get a good flow and get used to those corners. I was still making mistakes this morning, but this afternoon I figured out the flow and got some good things happening. There's still room for improvement which is great but I've put myself in a good position, which is good. My speed has been improving; trying to learn everything at once can be an overload, so I've been trying to build on every day and learn something new. I've also been watched what the F1 drivers do and then try to copy it. I'm really enjoying this."

Qualifying Results
1 Brett Emerton
2 Robbie McEwen
3 Charley Boorman
4 Rob Mills
5 Tim Robards
6 Lydia Lassila
7 Tommy Little
8 Torah Bright
9 Rachael Finch
10 Clint Stanaway
11 Scherri-Lee Biggs
12 Lauren Phillips
13 Sam Mac
14 Dave Thornton
15 Megan Washington
16 Catriona Rowntree
17 Maz Compton
18 Adam D'Sylva
DNF Nathan Brown

Practice Two Results
1 Brett Emerton
2 Charley Boorman
3 Robbie McEwen
4 Sam Mac
5 Rob Mills
6 Nathan Brown
7 Tim Robards
8 Torah Bright
9 Lydia Lassila
10 Adam D'Sylva
11 Catriona Rowntree
12 Clint Stanaway
13 Dave Thornton
14 Scherri-Lee Biggs
15 Rachael Finch
16 Tommy Little
17 Maz Compton
18 Lauren Phillips
19 Megan Washington

Practice One Results
1 Robbie McEwen
2 Brett Emerton
3 Rob Mills
4 Torah Bright
5 Tim Robards
6 Nathan Brown
7 Tommy Little
8 Sam Mac
9 Catriona Rowntree
10 Scherri-Lee Biggs
11 Adam D'Sylva
12 Clint Stanaway
13 Lydia Lassila
14 Lauren Phillips
15 Dave Thornton
16 Maz Compton
17 Charley Boorman
18 Rachael Finch
19 Megan Washington

The Mazda3 Celebrity Challenge Grid

Car# Name
#01 Alex 'Chumpy' Pullin - Snowboarding World Champion
#02 Rachael Finch - TV presenter and model
#03 Charley Boorman - TV presenter, travel writer and actor
#04 Lydia Lassila - Olympic gold medallist
#05 Tim Robards - The Bachelor 2013
#06 Rob Mills - Singer, entertainer and TV presenter
#07 Nathan Brown - Ex AFL player and media personality
#08 Adam D'Sylva - Celebrity chef
#09 Clint Stanaway - Nine News presenter
#10 Sam Mac - Ten TV presenter
#11 Lauren Phillips - TV host and Mazda ambassador
#12 Megan Washington - Musician
#13 Dave Thornton - Comedian, radio and TV presenter
#14 Maz Compton - Radio and TV presenter
#15 Robbie McEwen - Australian cycling legend
#16 Catriona Rowntree - Travel presenter and author
#17 Brett Emerton - Former Socceroo
#18 Scherri-Lee Biggs - Model and former Miss Universe Australia
#19 Torah Bright - Olympic gold medallist
#20 Tommy Little - Comedian, radio and TV presenter

Mazda6 Celebrity Challenge Details:

Circuit: Albert Park Street Circuit
Location: Melbourne, Vic
Circuit Length: 5.303km

Thursday: 1 x 20min practice
Friday: 1 x 15min practice & 1 x 15min qualifying
Saturday: 1 x 5 Lap race
Sunday: 1 x 5 Lap race

The times below are in Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time

Thursday, March 13:
Practice 1: 12.30pm - 12.50pm
Practice 2: 2.40pm - 3pm

Friday, March 14:
Qualifying: 3.30pm - 3.45pm

Saturday, March 15:
Race 1: 11.55am - 12.10pm (5 laps)

Sunday, March 16:
Race 2: 12.35pm - 12.50pm (5 laps)
Followed by podium presentation

Melbourne/Sydney ADST, please check local guides for other capital city broadcast times:

Friday, March 14:
12.00pm - 7pm (ONE HD)
Saturday, March 15:
11.00am - 6.30pm (TEN / ONE HD)
Sunday, March 16
12.00pm - 7.30pm (TEN / ONE HD)

About the Mazda3 Celebrity Challenge

Following on from the success of the Mazda6 Celebrity Challenge in 2013, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation along with Mazda Australia have joined forces to bring the Mazda3 Celebrity Challenge to the 2014 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix. The Mazda3 Celebrity Challenge will bring together 20 celebrities from a wide variety of backgrounds and disciplines to compete at Melbourne's spectacular Albert Park street circuit.

About All-New Mazda3 with a 2.5L SKYACTIV-G petrol engine

Re-designed from the ground up, All-New Mazda3 adopts the stylish 'KODO - Soul of Motion' design language and the full suite of efficient SKYACTIV Technologies. Drivers will be better connected than ever before thanks to a new car connectivity system that allows easier access to phone, email and SMS, as well as Stitcher™, Aha™ and Pandora®. Including an Active Driving Display, All-New Mazda3 with SKYACTIV-G 2.5L petrol engine has 138kW of power, 250Nm of torque and sips as little as 6.0L/100km - an improvement of 30 per cent over the outgoing model. With over four million global sales, All-New Mazda3 went on sale in February and is available in either sedan or hatch, and with a 2.0 litre or 2.5 litre petrol engine.

For more information contact:

Steve Maciver
Public Relations Manager
(03) 8540 1961
0437 125 589

Tony Mee
Public Relations Specialist
+61 (0)3 8540 1962
+ 61 (0)439 347 658