IRWIN Racing impresses at Sandown 500

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Lee Holdsworth and Craig Baird scored a fourth place finish in the opening race of the Pirtek Enduro Cup.

IRWIN Racing has made the world of V8 Supercars stand-up and take notice after Lee Holdsworth and Craig Baird scored a fourth place finish in the opening race of the Pirtek Enduro Cup, the Wilson Security Sandown 500.

The result came after two stirring drives from firstly Baird and then Holdsworth over 161 demanding laps.

It is the by far the best result for the IRWIN team in 2013 as it continues to develop the Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 from Erebus Motorsport.

Lee Holdsworth, Erebus Motorsport
Lee Holdsworth, Erebus Motorsport

Photo by: Edge Photographics

Starting 19th, Baird moved to 16th on the opening lap, and over the course of his double-stint at the wheel, he moved to third place as a wide range of strategies started to play out with safety car periods.

Driving with the special 'THANKS' livery for National Tradesmen Day on Friday 20 September, Baird kept his cool with next to no mistakes at the wheel. Just prior to handing over to Holdsworth, Baird reported that the balance in the car was excellent.

Holdsworth took over the IRWIN E63 on lap #55 after the crew changed tyres, filled it with fuel and made a front brake change.

Sitting in ninth position when the third and final Safety Car fell on lap 65 of 161, the mixed strategies of teams began to play out in relation to pit stops. Holdsworth ran in tandem with team-mate Tim Slade as they made their way to the front during the cycle.

Holdsworth pitted from the lead on lap #94 and then set quick and consistent times through to his final stop lap #124. With plenty of fuel, fresh tyres and once again new brake pads at his disposal he returned to the track in fifth place. Holdsworth then moved to fourth, before hounding Will Davison all the way to the finish. Davison's car started to smoke with around 10 laps remaining and Holdsworth backed away as visibility became an issue through to the finish.

After not running a cool suit, it was an exhausted Holdsworth who exited the car after the race and was met by a thrilled team.

The result has Baird and Holdsworth fourth in the Enduro Cup standings with confidence well and truly on the up heading to the biggest motor race in Australian sport, the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 on Sunday 13 October.

IRWIN Racing

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About this article
Series V8SUPERCARS
Article type Race reports
Tags baird, holdsworth, irwin, sandown, v8supercars