Oran Park: Garry Rogers Motorsport Monday report

Strong sixth for Holdsworth as V8 rookie mixes it at Oran Park Garry Rogers Motorsport's Lee Holdsworth has mixed it with some of the established names of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Oran Park in Sydney today, finishing a brilliant ...

Strong sixth for Holdsworth as V8 rookie mixes it at Oran Park

Garry Rogers Motorsport's Lee Holdsworth has mixed it with some of the established names of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Oran Park in Sydney today, finishing a brilliant sixth for the round.

The result, the 23yearold's best in V8 Supercar racing's main series, came after the th rookie qualified back in 24 on Saturday and was looking like he'd have a tough weekend from the rear of the field.

Being hit from behind from another driver that damaged his rear wing in race one th affected the rear of his Commodore and he struggled to push on and finish 24 .

But it was his performance in the reverse grid race that had pit lane talking. Starting from fourth, Holdsworth assumed the lead on lap 19 and drove away from the pack.

He held onto the lead spot until fivetime series champion Mark Skaife hunted him down and finally got past on lap 44, Holdsworth losing another spot to current series leader Craig Lowndes two laps later.

But he was able to hang on and finish in third spot, the car speed of the #33 Commodore good enough that no other driver could catch him.

A first lap multicar crash at turn three eliminated plenty of top drivers from the final th race, allowing Holdsworth who started from 14 to make up plenty of positions and settle in eighth spot.

Contact between Russell Ingall and Garth Tander and a major crash involving Max Wilson lifted Holdsworth to fifth, a spot he held until the dying stages when Tander got by as Holdsworth was stuck behind the clearly slower Steven Johnson.

Sixth for the final 53lap race and sixth for the round overall, the result is the best for GRM in the 2006 championship series.

"It's so great to come out of the weekend in sixth," said Holdsworth. "It didn't start off too well in qualifying but it definitely came together. To dice with Skaife and Lowndes in the revers grid race was really great and Mark came down to the garage afterwards to say I'd done a good job which means a lot. "After the last two rounds I'd lost a little confidence and this has helped so much. The team needed a result so I'm happy to be the one to provide it!"

While the weekend didn't pan out as strongly for teammate Dean Canto, the two time V8 Development Series champion also made significant ground for the team, scoring a place in the top 10 shootout on Saturday.

It was the first time Canto had ever qualified in the Shootout, while it was the first appearance for a GRM car in the Shootout since Cameron McConville at Indy last year. th Starting from 10 in Saturday's first race, Canto held the spot after his compulsory th tyre change though dropped back to 16 by race's end.

A dramatic sequence of events in Sunday's reverse grid second race left him nosed into the tyre wall on the entrance to the pits.

Contact between the pitbound Mark Winterbottom and the following Steven Richards had partly blocked the portion of the track Canto intended to use to make his pit entrance.

Swinging across the circuit proved disastrous and he nosed into the tyre wall. Delayed by reversing out of it, he managed to complete his stop and carry on, th slowing in the latter stages to finish 24 . th A 19 place finish in the final race wasn't a true indication of the sort of pace Canto's #34 Commodore had held over the weekend, though the team will now move into endurance mode for the Sandown 500 in Melbourne in three weeks' time.

-credit: grm

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Steven Johnson , Max Wilson , Garth Tander , Russell Ingall , Dean Canto , Mark Skaife , Craig Lowndes , Mark Winterbottom , Garry Rogers , Lee Holdsworth
Teams Garry Rogers Motorsport