As the cars took to the track on ANZAC Day for the first time in the 55-year history of V8 Supercars, the Red Bull Racing Australia team had a mixed bag of results.
A hectic schedule saw Jamie and Craig struggle to come to grips with the bumpy Pukekohe circuit in the sole practice session of the day, finishing 13th and 18th respectively.
However, the team pulled it together in the 15 minute gap before qualifying and the Red Bull Holdens fought their way to the front two rows of the grid, Car 888 starting from fourth and Car 1 from second, despite having finished the practice session in the dirt, resulting in a red flag and the crew having an even shorter time frame to get the car in order.
Come race time, J-Dub’s wings were certainly intact as he got a flying start. Bad fortunes struck after a safety car restart though and he was forced to pit with a power steering failure.
This put Lowndesy up a place into third, which he held onto until the chequered flag, keeping fellow Holden driver James Courtney at bay.
“It was great to get some more points today and keep our lead in the championship but it’s a long weekend with another three races to go,” Craig said.
“We’ve all got a few good miles under our belt now and a better understanding of the track conditions so we’ll go away tonight, regroup, and then hopefully come back to push the pace a little further tomorrow.
“It’s really special being able to race on ANZAC day and having the honour of standing on the podium with servicemen was quite remarkable.”
A speedy fix up in the garage saw Jamie re-enter the race on lap 20, eventually crossing the line in 24th.
“We were really disappointed with today,” he said afterwards.
“We worked hard from the outset and although we were slow in practice we managed to improve. We were happy with the car speed as the day went on and I was impressed that the entire team dug deep to get us there.
“We’ve still got another three races to go, so we’re optimistic – onwards and upwards.”
There’s plenty of on-track action tomorrow here at the ITM 500 Auckland, kicking off from 10.25am local time with one practice session, followed by qualifying sessions and two races. Click here for local telecast times.