Two Superb Efforts From Youlden
Luke Youlden turned in two superb drives in the Powerbuilt Falcon as the final two races of Round 3 in the NZV8s Championship were played out at the Taupo Motorsport Centre today. Youlden's efforts secured the Powerbuilt Racing Team two top ten results including a 3rd in the last race.
Youlden's challenge had been blunted early in the weekend when an engine change prior to qualifying sent him to the back of the grid for yesterday's first race. This was in accordance with series rules which state that after two engine changes have been completed the next must be followed by a start from the rear of the field.
Unfortunately the need to thread his way through the traffic cost Youlden dearly in the opening race. It only took three laps to move through to 19th place but shortly afterwards the Powerbuilt Falcon began emitting a trail of smoke and Youlden retired the car midway through lap six.
A Watts linkage pin had fractured, tearing a large hole in the back of the diff causing the oil to leak out and then strip some teeth. The cause was contact from another car at the right rear corner of the Powerbuilt Falcon. Youlden was far from complimentary about the standard of some of the driving he had seen.
Saturday's result consigned the Australian to 24th starting spot for this morning's 16 lap race. Once again Youlden faced a drive through the traffic but he was soon on the move, clinically gaining positions until as the race neared it's conclusion he was in the top ten ending the race in 9th place. He said later that "no one made it easy," as he forged his way through. He was once again disappointed in some of the driving he encountered having passed cars only to find them trying to race and repass him.
Youlden's combined results placed him 13th on the grid for the final race of the round, a 20 lap reverse grid event. It was a horror first lap for the Powerbuilt Falcon. The cars in front were slow away and he found himself boxed in before being knocked off the circuit at Turn 5. Youlden found his way back on and then proceeded to make his way back through the traffic.
By lap thirteen he was in second place behind fellow Australian David Besnard and although he lost one place to Angus Fogg near the end of the race he crossed the line in a well deserved 3rd place after a difficult weekend.
Youlden explained after the race that the first lap had been "carnage!" "I was boxed in at the start and Bezzy (Besnard) got past a group of cars early on. I then used up a lot of the car trying to get past that group. The Powerbuilt Falcon was set up to race early and we suffered towards the end. That's when Fogg got past."
Youlden said the day's results were "due to a good effort by the guys in the Powerbuilt Team. PC (Team Manager Peter Cunliffe) went to Auckland to get a new diff overnight and arrived back at 12.30am. The car was really good, the boys did a good job but again luck was not with us. The car is strong, the team is strong but we really need lady luck on board!"
However despite suffering a DNF (retirement) in one race at this round Youlden's strong drives today netted him 6th place overall for the round.
However the entire Powerbuilt Racing Team will be hoping that luck will return to the team at the next round of the NZV8s Championship at Manfeild Autocourse in Feilding near Palmerston North over the weekend of 17/18 February.