A year on from his historic Winton win for Erebus Motorsport, V8 Supercars star Lee Holdsworth returns to the Victorian track this week looking for qualifying speed and hoping bad luck - in the form of spectacular crashes - comes in threes.
This time round Holdsworth lost the rear of his Holden on worn tyres and slid into the sand trap at turn six. The car dug in and tipped on its left side, leaving him to scramble out the driver's window thankfully unharmed.
The car was also virtually undamaged and Holdsworth was able to take his place in the afternoon's 200km Race Nine, albeit starting from the back of the grid after missing qualifying.
"The first thing I thought after the (WA) weekend was things do come in threes and I am hoping that's my third one over and done and got that out of the way," Holdsworth told v8supercars.com.au.
"Obviously the first two I couldn't do anything about, but this one was a, lock the rears and go off into the sand trap. Of course the last thing I thought was I would roll on to my side. It was a bit of a weird one but I guess that's the nature of the sand trap in Perth."
There was some speculation the incident was triggered by a deflating left rear tyre, but Holdsworth says that appears most likely not to be the case.
"I put that one down to my mistake and I am the first to admit when I make a mistake," he said. "So one out of three crashes have been my fault and I will put my hand up for that one."
Holdsworth scored the first win for Betty Klimenko's privateer team at the 2014 Winton V8 Supercars just days after another dramatic incident of an entirely different type - chasing an intruder from his Gold Coast home late at night earlier in the week.
"It was a tough time in many ways," Holdsworth said. "Heading to that meeting I had no sleep and I was worried about (daughter) Ava and (wife) Alana back home. I was pretty high on adrenaline with what had just happened with the intruder in our house.
"And so I woke up the morning of that race with probably one hour sleep under my belt. It made it even more emotional to get that win because I was very angry at that stage as well after what had happened and pretty emotional as well.
"It is not often you get someone in your house at 10.30 at night and you have to chase them out."
Holdsworth is hoping Winton will again be a turning point for him and his team. In particular he is looking for an improvement in qualifying form, as he languishes at an average starting position of just 14.3.
But he also admits the new team is taking time to gel. While he made the shift from Erebus, team owner Schwerkolt moved from Prodrive Racing Australia and the Ford Falcon to Walkinshaw Racing and the Commodore, with Alex Somerset swapping from the departing Nick Percat to engineer the car.
"I know I can do it and I know the car has the potential," said Holdsworth. "It is just a matter of everything meshing at the moment. We have new guys on the car, I am working with a new engineer and that stuff all takes time.
"We have seen out practice pace and race pace is there or thereabouts, but it's just qualifying is everything at the moment. It is 95 per cent of your weekend ... That is absolutely the focus at the moment - trying to get on top of that."
Frustratingly, Holdsworth felt there were qualifying set-up gains made in Western Australia but they were unable to be validated because of his practice incident.
"I think we are making inroads and once we do nail it I think it's going to be a matter of understanding how we achieved it and how we can keep achieving it and gain some consistency. If we can get that qually car ... we will be there to stay because where you qualify is roundabout where you stay in the race."
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