Reynolds hangs tough
- By Bruce Newton
- Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
Days after his move from Prodrive to Erebus for 2016 was confirmed, David Reynolds has staged one of his toughest and best drives to hold off Jamie Whincup and claim victory in Race 29 at the ITM 500 Auckland in his Bottle-O Ford Falcon FG X.
Reynolds also moved up to second in the championship following a massive moment for Craig Lowndes when the left rear tyre of his Red Bull Racing Holden Commodore VF exploded at 250km/h and he spun wildly and then slid into the front straight.
Championship leader Mark Winterbottom finished fourth in his Pepsi Max Racing Falcon in the 21-lap race and his gap over Prodrive team-mate Reynolds is 287 points. Lowndes is now 306points off the pace.
Lowndes won the jump into turn one in the first ever soft tyre V8 Supercar race at Pukekohe, leading ARMOR ALL fastest qualifier Reynolds until the wild crash on lap 12, ensuring his winless streak at the track continues.
At the restart Race 28 winner Whincup moved on to Reynolds' tail and dived down the inside into the hairpin on the penultimate lap of the race.
The two cars banged panels but Reynolds held his nerve and his line to regain the lead into the fast esses.
Scott McLaughlin then harried the Red Bull Commodore all the way to the chequered flag in the Wilson Security GRM Volvo S60 to complete the top three and ensure the locals again had a Kiwi to cheer for after Shane van Gisbergen finished second in Race 28.
This time round, van Gisbergen charged through the field from his 13th place on the grid to finish fifth in the Darrel Lea Stix Commodore, with Holden Racing Team's James Courtney, Supercheap Auto's Tim Slade, DJR Team Penske's Scott Pye in the MAN Falcon, Freightliner Racing's Fabian Coulthard and HRT's Garth Tander completing the top 10.
LDM's Nick Percat copped a black flag for failing to redress after running off the road at turn one - a decision the team disputed.
Brad Jones Racing's difficult weekend continued with eighteenth qualifier Jason Bright missing the race as the engine was changed in the Team BOC Commodore.
Whincup leads the Jason Richards Trophy, named in honour of Bright's late former BJR teammate.