Wild qualifying race sets up Sandown 500 for IRWIN Ford

Lee Holdsworth and Craig Baird have completed the qualifying races for the Dick Smith Sandown 500 in 13th place and that is where they will start tomorrow's 161-lap 500km V8 Supercar endurance event.

On a day that included practice, plus a single qualifying session to set the grid for the twin 20-lap sprints, the IRWIN Ford looked more like it had done 500km of racing after a particularly rough race for Holdsworth.

Lee Holdsworth, Irwin Racing
Lee Holdsworth, Irwin Racing

Photo by: John Maricic

The qualifying session which set the grid for the opening 20-lap qualifying sprint didn't go to plan for the IRWIN Racing crew, with Lee Holdsworth setting the 20th fastest time.

All dedicated co-drivers competed in the opening race, with Craig Baird making a good start and even avoided a three-car collision in the first corner.

After the hectic beginning he settled into 14th place. Over the 20-laps Baird improved his rhythm and his lap times came down through to the end of the race. Team-mate Luke Youlden won the race.

Holdsworth got a strong start to his race and moved to as high as eighth position before a he slipped back down the order after a coming together with Will Davison and an aggressive James Moffat. From that point Holdsworth battled with a number of other drivers before coming home in 13th.

It could be a lucky 13 as Holdsworth and Baird feel confident heading into the big race.

What lee holdsworth had to say: "That was one of the wildest races I have ever been in - absolute stupidity from some guys out there," said Holdsworth.

"It was supposed to be a qualifying race and set ourselves up for tomorrow - not bash the cars up and give the boys some work to do tonight.

"We had a really good race car until we got the damage and left handers were a struggle - particularly because this is a left hand track.

"Overall the team is very positive - especially after Shane and Luke on the other side of the garage won both races, plus Tim and Andrew finished right up there.

"All the cars are working really, including ours. It's a long race tomorrow and we just need to pick them off one by one and stay out of the lunacy."

What craig baird had to say: "I got a good start and from grid #20 I knew I was going to be in the thick of it," said Baird.

"I kept my head down and just tried to miss cars as for me it's important to keep it in one piece.

"I didn't drive the first 10 laps very well. A little bit rusty and over eager. The second half of the race I was really pleased with how I drove. Compared to driving the Porsche you really need to slow the car down mid-corner, which is opposite to what I usually drive.

"I feel we have a very good package for the race, and I am better off after today's 20 lap race."

Source: IRWIN Racing

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