The trials and tribulations of the 2006/2007 NZV8s Championship continued for the Powerbuilt Racing Team at Pukekohe Park in Auckland today.

After struggling with engine gremlins, both in qualifying and yesterday's first race in which he finished 7th, Luke Youlden suffered "more of the same" in this morning's 16 - lap event. The Powerbuilt Falcon was again down on power and as Youlden reflected later, "it was hard not to get passed! We were battling with people that we shouldn't have been battling with." The Australian was holding 12th place in the race when he was hit from behind by Dean Perkins at the tight hairpin at the end of the back straight.

"Dean made a mistake and turned us around," said Youlden later. After the incident the Powerbuilt Falcon pitted to have some front bodywork removed before rejoining well down the order, eventually being classified in 30th place, 1 lap down. Removing the bodywork also caused some oil temperature issues and Youlden switched off the engine as he crossed the line at the finish of the race.

Between today's two races Youlden said the team was continuing to change things to find the engine problem, some things having been changed two or three times already.

Youlden was 18th on the grid for the final race of the championship, the 20 - lap reverse grid race. He was quickly up to 13th place before officials adjudged that he had stepped out of line prior to the start. Youlden brought the Powerbuilt Falcon into the pits for a drive - through penalty before the red flag appeared at the end of lap three when Cam Hardy's Commodore caught fire. Youlden was placed at the head of the queue for the restart as he was considered to be a lap down, a decision he thought was wrong.

When the restart came he pulled away from the train of cars behind and motored on to the finish. However as he was considered to be a lap down he was classified 21st.

"Too eager off the start," was Youlden's comment at the end of the race. "We copped a drive - through and then I feel we were put in the wrong position at the restart. We did the best we could and did consistent lap times." The car appeared to be running better, but Youlden said later that was not the case. "Being in front we could run our own race. We were strong chassis wise but if you don't have horsepower in a racing situation you lose the advantage."

Reflecting on the series, Youlden said it had been positive from the fact that "we turned the car around in terms of the chassis. However several unlucky situations had impacted on the season." Youlden ended the season ninth in the NZV8s Championship point standings.

A crowd of 51,347 watched the action at Pukekohe today contributing to a three - day crowd of 132,236, an increase of 29,000 over the total attendance in 2006.

-credit: prt