The qualifying races at the Wilson Security Sandown 500 did not disappoint, with action across both 20-lap sprints for ARMOR ALL Pole Position.
In the first race, limited to co-drivers, the wrestling carried on until the last corner of the last lap of the race – as Jamie Whincup was singing the praises of co-driver Paul Dumbrell securing a start from the front row, Andrew Jones and Craig Baird got together, resulting in a DNF for the IRWIN Tools car.
However, the Stewards have deemed it a racing incident, stating no breach of the rules occurred.
Jones wasn’t quick to take responsibility, and Baird wasn’t impressed with the Team BOC co-driver.
“Andy Jones made a mistake coming out of Dandenong Road and ran off the road, so I had a bit of a run on him and went into 11 minding my own business, and then basically got taken out,” the Porsche Carrera Cup ace, and #4 co-driver, told v8supercars.com.au.
“A little bit disappointed. In those races, if someone makes a mistake, pay the penalty. He didn’t want to pay the penalty – he wanted to make a mistake and get his position back.
“Which I guess he did, at my expense.
“It would’ve been a good result for the team, so I was a little bit disappointed. We weren’t trying to win the race, just consolidate and look towards tomorrow afternoon.”
Baird wasn’t even sure the car would cross the line. He thought it was a broken suspension – but fortunately it was just a tyre off the rim.
Holdsworth faced a tough challenge starting from the back of the grid, but managed to make five positions across the race and elevate to 19th, where they will start tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Jones wasn’t quick to take responsibility for the racing incident, but did admit the #8 Commodore wasn’t performing well during the 20-lap dash.
“We were pretty weak throughout the whole race to be honest and I just covered into Dandenong Road on the last lap,” Jones said.
“I already didn’t have much turn anyway and it was pretty tight going into there because ‘Bairdo’ had a look the lap before.
“So I thought I would cover, I got to the apex but just had no rotation, so he got up alongside me on the run down to the second last corner. I knew he was there and I gave him room around the outside but at some point it’s going to get tight.
“I think he arrived at the last corner way too shallow – these things will never rotate when you are that tight, and we obviously made contact there.
“Whose fault that was, well, I certainly felt like the corner was open enough for me to get around. We made contact and we spun.
“To be honest out of that we lost, but it wasn’t horrendous. We were 11th and finished 14th, so we lost three spots out of it.
“All I really wanted was to get to the end of the race so we could tune the car and give ‘Brighty’ a better shot at it.
“It was pretty straight forward what was wrong with our car.”
Bright – who is well in the Championship fight, 198 points adrift of leader Jamie Whincup – managed to make up three positions, and the car will start from 11th tomorrow.
Click here for qualifying race two results, which will determine tomorrow’s grid.