Luke Youlden and the Powerbuilt Racing Team made a strong start to the NZV8s Championship at Pukekohe Park Raceway near Auckland this weekend.

As the team leaves Pukekohe this evening they are fourth in the championship, just one point behind Angus Fogg in third position.

Youlden piloted the Powerbuilt Falcon to a pair of third placings in the first two races of the weekend but suffered some bad luck in the final event, the championship's inaugural reverse grid race.

Youlden was 3rd in this morning's 16 - lap race. The Powerbuilt Falcon started from fourth position and became part of a high speed train that pulled away from the rest of the field. The Australian held station until the cars arrived at the hairpin on the 11th lap where John McIntyre spun. That incident promoted Youlden to 3rd place and he soon began to pressure second - placed Angus Fogg. At the flag David Besnard took the win followed by Fogg with Youlden just .6 of a second behind.

Allied to his fine 3rd place in Saturday afternoon's race that meant Youlden would start the reverse grid event from the penultimate row. The race was an eventful one, the first incident occurring at the first corner, initially bringing out the safety car and eventually the red flag. After the restart Youlden began hustling the Powerbuilt Falcon through the field. He was involved in a battle with Paul Manuell, a former champion in the class, until lap 8 when he spun the Powerbuilt Falcon at the hairpin at the end of the back straight. The spin came after he was tucked in close behind the Manuell car and the lack of air to the brakes caused them to fade, resulting in the spin. After regaining the track Youlden set about climbing back through the field and was doing so quite successfully until he encountered a car across the track at the hairpin. He clipped the errant car with the left rear of the Powerbuilt Falcon which caused damage to the rear bodywork. However Youlden continued on at unabated speed until he was unfortunately called into the pits by officials to secure the damaged bodywork.

That dropped the Australian 1 lap behind the leaders and left him 18th at the chequered flag.

However he was very happy with the morning race and the weekend as a whole. "The other guy's came back to us as the race went on this morning. It's very positive, this was our best result at Pukekohe which was a real bogey circuit for us last year. We've moved along from that big time! We are as good as everyone else and I am looking forward to our home race at Powerbuilt Tools International Raceway in three weeks", he said.

"I had a shocking run in the reverse grid race", he added as he reflected on the day. "Those races can either work for or against you. I've had some good runs at home in similar races but here I just got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Some guy's tend to get a tough run in these races, others get it easy", he said.

Saturday had been a good day for the Australian as he took 3rd in the opening race of the championship, an incident packed, 12 - lap race. In a race punctuated by a red flag stoppage and a safety car period Youlden ran strongly at the front of the field despite struggling with the wrong tyre pressures after qualifying third in the morning qualifying session.

This was a strong result for the team and if not for the enforced pit stop in the final race would have earned them a podium for the round.

-credit: Powerbuilt Racing Team