IRWIN Racing’s Lee Holdsworth and Craig Baird have finished the Dick Smith Sandown 500 in eighth place and will take plenty of confidence to the Bathurst 1000 in three weeks time.
The result came despite a noisy IRWIN Ford which was brought about from a cracked header pipe on the exhaust system on lap #98 of 161 with Holdsworth at the wheel.
Baird started the race from 12th position and put in a very professional drive over a double stint during the opening segment.
Handing over to Holdsworth in ninth position on lap #75, the IRWIN Racing lead driver then put his head down and enjoyed a great race with team-mates Shane van Gisbergen and Tim Slade.
Over the second half of the race the IRWIN Ford was certainly the loudest car on the track and although it lost minimal power he was able to maintain his position.
After a couple of months of tough results, a return to a solid top-10 finish was not only a good result for the weekend, it also gives the IRWIN Racing squad plenty of confidence heading to the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 on 4-7 October.
WHAT LEE HOLDSWORTH HAD TO SAY
“Bairdo did a great job, the boys gave us great stops and there was good speed in the car,” said Holdsworth.
“We cracked a header and lost some speed down the straights and I couldn’t quite stay with my team-mates.
“Despite that minor issue, it’s been really great to be back up in the top-10. Bairdo and I will go to Bathurst with a bit more confidence now, especially after the last few rounds which have not been so great.
“Across the team we have found good speed and importantly we will continue to tune it up for Bathurst.”
WHAT CRAIG BAIRD HAD TO SAY
“The plan was for me to just get in there and get my two stints out of the way,” said Baird.
“We had a good clean run, which was the aim to bring it back for Lee to attack in the second half of the race.
“This weekend has been good for me. It’s blown out the cobwebs before Bathurst. I feel really comfortable in the car, but I certainly want to step up the pace for the big one in a few weeks time.
V8 SUPERCARS – Sandown 500
1. #888 TeamVodafone C.Lowndes/W.Luff
2. #5 Orrcon Steel FPR Ford M.Winterbottom/S.Richards
3. #1 TeamVodafone J.Whincup/P.Dumbrell
4. #2 Holden Racing Team G.Tander/N.Percat
5. #9 SP Tools Racing S.van Gisbergen/L.Youlden
6. #55 The Bottle-O Racing Team D.Reynolds/D.Canto
7. #47 Lucky 7 Racing T.Slade/A.Thompson
8. #4 Irwin Racing L.Holdsworth/C.Baird
9. #22 Holden Racing Team J.Courtney/C.McConville
10. #19 Tekno Autosports J.Webb/S.McLaughlin
SERIES POINTS REPORT : After Race 20
1. Jamie Whincup 2472
2. Mark Winterbottom 2440
3. Craig Lowndes 2353
4. Will Davison 2236
5. Shane van Gisbergen 1882
6. Garth Tander 1764
7. Tim Slade 1662
8. Fabian Coulthard 1541
9. Lee Holdsworth 1449
10. David Reynolds 1404