IRWIN Racing has scored its best result at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 with Lee Holdsworth and Craig Baird bringing home their Stone Brothers Racing Falcon in eighth.
The IRWIN Racing crew used a clever strategy of speed and conservation to move up the order as the 1000km classic had its usual multiple twists and turns.
Starting 15th Holdsworth held position over the opening stint before handing over to Craig Baird for a double shift at the wheel. On lap #55 Baird took the lead in the race after the crew decided to keep him on track during one of the safety car periods. The decision to stay out would prove pivotal later in the race.
Safety Car periods didn’t seem to help the IRWIN Racing team, as on two occasions the car had to wait for service behind team-mates Shane van Gisbergen and Luke Youlden.
Then when the final 40 laps ran without interruption, things started to come to Holdsworth and Baird.
While plenty of other crews had issues with tyres, the IRWIN Racing Ford looked after its rubber, and this allowed Holdsworth to put the peddle down over the final third of the race.
As others either eased right off, or had to make an extra stop, Holdsworth was able to drive through to be inside the top-10 at the finish.
The race was won by Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell who held off David Reynolds and Dean Canto in a classic finish.
This year’s race attracted a record attendance of 207,205 beating the previous best of 193,647 (2006).
What the drivers had to say:
Lee Holdsworth – IRWIN Racing
“Really happy to come home in eighth and Bairdo did an awesome job,” said Holdsworth.
“We had a really strong car for that final stint and were able to come through.
“Of course I wanted to win the race, but you have to reassess your goals throughout the day and to come from 20th to eighth is a true testament to the team.
“There’s always next year, but eighth is a good result.
Craig Baird – IRWIN Racing
“I pushed on the best I could,” said Baird.
“It was one of those races I couldn’t really read how we were going.
“I would jump out of the car and think we were trucking along pretty good, but then see us down the order.
“We then worked back into the top-10, then fall back down. So it was a long old day and eighth is a pretty good result considering everything.”
RESULTS: Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000
1. #1 TeamVodafone J.Whincup/P.Dumbrell Holden Commodore
2. #52 The Bottle-O Racing Team D.Reynolds/D.Canto Ford Falcon
3. #888 TeamVodafone C.Lowndes/W.Luff Holden Commodore
4. #22 Holden Racing Team J.Courtney/C.McConville Holden Commodore
5. #34 Fujitsu Racing GRM M.Caruso/G.Ritter Holden Commodore
6. #19 Tekno Autosports J.Webb/S.McLaughlin Holden Commodore
7. #47 Lucky 7 Racing T.Slade/A.Thompson Ford Falcon
8. #4 IRWINRacing L.Holdsworth/C.Baird Ford Falcon
9. #66 Supercheap Auto Racing R.Ingall/C.Klien Holden Commodore
10. #17 Team Norton DJR J.Moffat/A.Davison Ford Falcon
SERIES POINTS REPORT: Race 21
1. Jamie Whincup 2772
2. Craig Lowndes 2611
3. Mark Winterbottom 2584
4. Will Davison 2302
5. Shane van Gisbergen 2020
6. Tim Slade 1854
7. Garth Tander 1824
8. David Reynolds 1680
9. Lee Holdsworth 1629
10. Fabian Coulthard 1613