A strong start for IRWIN Racing at the Coates Hire Ipswich 300 with Lee Holdsworth setting the third quickest time of the day.
After challenging events at Darwin and Townsville, the IRWIN Racing crew knuckled down throughout a total of four practice sessions run throughout the day.
Holdsworth set the sixth quickest time in his first session behind the wheel, before jumping up to third overall for the day in the final 20 minute outing of the afternoon.
The opening two practice sessions were driven by Sandown and Bathurst endurance co-driver Craig Baird. The Kiwi had driven in the Friday sessions at both Phillip Island and Townsville, although on those weekends he was also racing in the Porsche Carrera Cup. Today he was 100% focussed on the V8 Supercar and worked closely with Holdsworth and race engineer Brad Wischusen. Baird was 15th in the opening session before jumping up to fifth placing aboard the IRWIN Ford in his second and final session behind the wheel.
The IRWIN Racing crew will return to the track tomorrow morning for another 30 minute practice session, then head out for the all-important 20 minute qualifying run ahead of the afternoon's opening 140km race.
IRWIN RACING QUOTEBAORD
Lee Holdsworth - IRWIN Racing Driver
"It's nice to finish in the top three in practice at your home track. Our tyres weren't too bad - but certainly not new. As you know they call it practice for a reason and there's no points, so we have got to make sure we put it all together tomorrow. Brad did a really good job as did all the boys today. I'm really proud of them and hopefully we can continue our run throughout the weekend. We are looking at getting a little more front grip out of the car. Which would certainly improve our speed - especially on a race run. I think we have made some gains with some of the changes which have helped the front grip."
Brad Wischusen - IRWIN Racing Engineer
"A good day and it all went smoothly. Even with Craig's sessions we learnt quite a bit. We did quite a lot of runs there where we weren't actually chasing lap times, rather getting a read on the car and not hurting our tyres too much. It was quite a good time in the end, even though it was quite a sloppy lap, but to be in the top three is good."
Craig Baird - IRWIN Racing Endurance Driver
"For me it's about getting a few laps and giving it back to Lee in one piece for the rest of the weekend. We're both looking for the same thing with the car and are trying the enduro seat and some other things like that. I have never been more comfortable in a V8 Supercar and the funny thing is that Lee said the same thing."
QUEENSLAND RACEWAY DETAILS:
Circuit: Queensland Raceway
Location: Willowbank, Queensland
Circuit Length: 3.12 kilometres
Tyres: hard and soft
Friday: 2 x 30min & 2 x 20min practice sessions
Saturday: 1 x 30min practice session 1 x 20min qualifying & 1 x 45 lap race
Sunday: 1 x 30min practice session 1 x 20min qualifying & 1 x 65 lap race
Source: IRWIN Racing