BATHURST, Australia — Lee Holdsworth was the first casualty of Sunday’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, with his Commodore stranded in the garage area after dropping a cylinder on the initial start.
A broken rocker forced Preston Hire Racing to retire after completing just two laps.
Paired with Karl Reindler throughout the Pirtek Enduro Cup, Holdsworth was devastated after qualifying 15th for the enduro.
“There’s nothing worse than starting your day like that,” Holdsworth said. “We had a good jump off the line and … (then) it felt like I was driving a four cylinder.”
It has been a tough year for the team with Holdsworth sitting out three events, recovering from injuries suffered in a Darwin crash. He returned for Sandown and had high hopes the Triple Eight car could perform at Bathurst.
“The (No.) 18 car is not going back out — when the rocker broke it bent a valve in the engine so the car requires a complete engine change,” team owner Charlie Schwerkolt said. “I’m absolutely gutted and devastated for the whole team, and apologize to all our sponsors, fans and supporters that we aren’t out there racing.”
“It’s hard on the whole team but hopefully our luck will change, my home race is coming up at the Gold Coast and I’m sure our luck will turn.”
The Erebus entry shared by Shae Davies and Chris van der Drift also encountered early issues, pulling in on lap 26 for the team to check the engine.
The team went to work on fixing a faulty sensor, which likely caused the engine to stop, according to the Erebus Twitter account.
After repairs, the No. 4 was able to get back out on lap 30, six laps behind the leading Triple Eight Commodore of Paul Dumbrell. However, the trouble continued for the team, as the car got a 10-second penalty for not turning on the pit lane speed limiter when it left the pits.
Paul Dumbrell leads David Wall as the co-drivers take over for the second stint.
CREDIT: Supercars Media