V8 NZ: Powerbuilt Racing Pukekohe Saturday notes

POWERBUILT RACING SCORES PODIUM FINISH IN NZV8s OPENER Australian driver Luke Youlden scored a podium finish in the first race of the 2006/2007 NZV8s Championship at Pukekohe Park Raceway today. Youlden brought the Powerbuilt Falcon home in...

POWERBUILT RACING SCORES PODIUM FINISH IN NZV8s OPENER

Australian driver Luke Youlden scored a podium finish in the first race of the 2006/2007 NZV8s Championship at Pukekohe Park Raceway today.

Youlden brought the Powerbuilt Falcon home in 3rd place as the championship got underway with an incident packed, 12 - lap race at the 2.84 kilometre circuit south of Auckland.

The Melbourne driver had qualified third for the opening race of the weekend, a pleasing result at a track he had earlier described as a "bogey circuit" for the Powerbuilt Racing Team.

Youlden was the fastest of the trio of Australians in the series and just .306 seconds off the fastest time in the session which earned Angus Fogg pole position. John McIntyre was second fastest while behind Youlden were former champion Paul Manuell, fellow Australian David Besnard, Andrew Anderson and the other Australian in the field, Cameron McLean.

There was much anticipation as the 29 strong NZV8s field lined up for their first race of the new season. Youlden made a good start from his 3rd grid position and held the place as the cars streamed across the line at the end of the first lap. However the red flag appeared at the end of the next lap after the car of Andrew Anderson hit the fence at the top of the hill, halting the race while the car was retrieved.

Once again at the restart Luke put the Powerbuilt Falcon into 3rd place, holding it comfortably while Angus Fogg and John McIntyre disputed the lead. However the field managed just three more laps before another incident further back in the field brought out the safety car for another two laps.

Back under racing conditions the Powerbuilt Falcon was relegated to 4th when David Besnard got past just after the circuit's hairpin corner at the end of the back straight.

However Youlden soon regained possession of 3rd place after Fogg spun on the 10th lap. The position was secured soon after when the safety car was summoned back onto the track with one lap to go. The field cruised to the line in single file giving the Powerbuilt Racing Team an excellent start to their season.

Youlden was upbeat after the race. "I'm extremely happy with the car, it's so much faster and a testament to the development done over the winter break. We had a patchy qualifying session, we were held up in traffic so we didn't optimise what we had there".

Youlden also revealed that the car was struggling with tyre pressures in the opening race and he feels there is more in the car yet. Quizzed about the new Dunlop D14 tyre being used for the series this year he said, "it is a lot like a V8 Supercar tyre, it peaks and then stays consistent".

Tomorrow Luke Youlden and the Powerbuilt Falcon will line up for a 16 lap race at 11.05am followed by the first of the reverse grid races that have been introduced for this season. That race is of 20 laps duration starting at 2.40pm.

-credit: Powerbuilt Racing Team

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Series General
Drivers David Besnard , Luke Youlden , Cameron McLean , John McIntyre , Andrew Anderson