IRWIN Racing Ready For 500 Return To Sandown

IRWIN Racing switches to V8 Supercars Championship endurance mode this weekend for the Dick Smith Sandown 500 in Melbourne.

Craig Baird, a champion across multiple motor racing disciplines, will join Lee Holdsworth aboard the #4 IRWIN Racing Falcon as the Bathurst curtain-raiser returns to Sandown. In recent years the 500km race had been held at Phillip Island. The return to Sandown for the first time since 2007 has been welcomed by both Holdsworth and Baird.

Baird has had extensive time at the wheel of the IRWIN Racing Ford during team test days and dedicated co-driver practice sessions at selected rounds of this year’s V8 Supercars Championship.

Sandown marks the beginning of ‘The season of Endurance’ with Bathurst and Gold Coast, all being races that require two drivers in the car. The added elements of longer races and co-drivers presents the opportunity for Holdsworth to score good points and improve his position of ninth in the championship standings.

The format at Sandown includes separate qualifying races on the Saturday for both drivers, which will set the grid for Sunday’s 161-lap race around the Melbourne suburban circuit.

The IRWIN Racing Ford will again carry the colours and slogan for the ‘National Tradesmen Day’ which will be held on friday 21 September across Australia. The day will focus the nation’s attention on “The Hands that Build Australia” and will include celebrations, recognition events, and activities across the country.

WHAT LEE HOLDSWORTH HAD TO SAY

“With the enduros coming up there’s a bundle of points with the three events offering 900 points up for grabs,” said Holdsworth.

“We can really get back in the game with some strong results. With Craig Baird being my enduro co-driver, I couldn’t ask for a better partner. He’s a good consistent, fast driver and we are both looking at getting the same out of the car. At Sandown you want to get everything right and have the car spot-on. You can then go to Bathurst, the biggest race of the year, with a hell of a lot of confidence which is clearly important.”

WHAT CRAIG BAIRD HAD TO SAY

“The 500 has been traditionally at Sandown and it’s nice to go back there,” said Baird.

“For an old circuit I’d have to say it’s still a very challenging track. You have that mega fast corner off the back straight and have the tight and twisty stuff. You need to have your car working well off the kerbs and this is all in a pretty quick lap. It’s a bit of change for me to join Lee and I’m really looking forward to it. Every co-driver will say that they get along well with the lead driver, but in all seriousness I do with Lee. He’s a good down to earth bloke who really gets on with the job and no frills.”

SERIES POINTS REPORT : After 19 Race

1. Jamie Whincup 2238
2. Mark Winterbottom 2237
3. Will Davison 2116
4. Craig Lowndes 2084
5. Shane van Gisbergen 1634
6. Garth Tander 1527
7. Tim Slade 1464
8. Fabian Coulthard 1432
9. Lee Holdsworth 1286
10. David Reynolds 1179

LEE HOLDSWORTH CAREER STATISTICS
Event Starts: 99
Race Starts: 217
Best Finish: 1st – Race 23, Oran Park 2007 & Race 26, Sydney Olympic Park 2010
Best Qualifying: Pole – Race 11, Townsville 2009 & Race 26, Sydney Olympic Park, 2010
2011 Championship Position: Eighth
Current 2012 Championship Position: Ninth

Lee Holdsworth Sandown Raceway

Best Qualifying Result: 3rd (2010 – Race 2) & (2011 – Race 2)
Best Race Result: 4th (2010 – Race 2)

CRAIG BAIRD CAREER STATISTICS
Event Starts: 82
Best Finish: 1st – Race 2 Phillip Island 2000
Best Qualifying: Pole – Race 4 Winton 2004

SANDOWN MOTOR RACEWAY DETAILS:
Circuit: Sandown Motor Raceway
Location: Springvale, Victoria
Circuit Length: 3.1 kilometres
Direction: Anti-Clockwise
Tyres: Hard

Format:
Friday: 3 x 40 minute practice sessions
Saturday: 1 x 40min practice session 1 x 20min qualifying & 2 x 20 lap (62 km) qualifying races race
Sunday: 1 x 20min warm-up & 1 x 161 lap (499.1 km)race

WEEKEND SCHEDULE
The times below are Australian Eastern Standard Time

Friday, 14 September:
Practice 1: 10.15am – 10.55am
Practice 2: 12.05pm – 12.45pm
Practice 3: 2pm – 2.40pm

Saturday, 15 September:
Practice 4: 9.40am – 10.20am
Qualifying : 11.40am – 12pm
Qualifying Race 1: 2.45pm – 3.15pm (20 laps 62 km)
Qualifying Race 2: 4.38pm – 5.15pm (20 laps 62 km)

Sunday, 16 September:
Warm-up: 10.15am – 10.45am
Race 20: 1.35pm – 5.15pm (161 laps/499.1km)

TELEVISION SCHEDULE
Times subject to amendment, please check local guides:

Seven Network

Saturday, 15 September
12pm – 3.30pm Qualifying & Qualifying Races(Perth)
1.30pm – 5pmpm Qualifying & Qualifying Races (Adelaide)
2pm – 5.30pm Qualifying & Qualifying Races (Sydney, Melbourne & Brisbane)

Sunday, 16 September:
10.30am – 3.30pm Warm-up & race 20 (Perth)
12pm – 5pm Warm-up & race 20 (Adelaide)
12.30pm – 5.30pm Warm-up & race 20 (Sydney, Melbourne & Brisbane)

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