David Reynolds inherited victory in Saturday’s second sprint race at the ITM 500 Auckland at Pukekohe Park Raceway, thanks to a spectacular left-rear tyre failure for race leader and championship contender Craig Lowndes.
The result moved Reynolds ahead of Lowndes into second place in the V8 Supercars championship standings, with his rival now facing a nervous overnight wait to see if his badly damaged car will be ready to race in Sunday’s feature race.
Pole-sitter Reynolds was jumped off the line by a fast-starting Lowndes, who cleanly swept around the outside of the Bottle-O Racing Ford driver into Turn 1 before easing into a one-second lead by the 21-lap race’s halfway mark.
Then disaster struck: Lowndes’ left-rear tyre suddenly let go down the start/finish curve, pitching his Red Bull Racing Holden into a spin before it collected the cement barriers at some 200km/h. He was able to emerge thankfully uninjured, but the same could not be said for his car which will need major overnight repairs.
The result was a major blow for Lowndes’ championship battle against series leader Mark Winterbottom, who managed to extend his points’ advantage over the series veteran by finishing this race in fourth place.
The accident triggered a Safety Car interruption, allowing the field to bunch onto the back of Reynolds for the run to the flag.
In second place was the day’s earlier race-winner and Lowndes’ teammate Jamie Whincup, who put in a determined fight to try and wrestle the lead from Reynolds and claim back-to-back victories for himself.
Whincup tried a passing move into the hairpin on the penultimate lap, but couldn’t get a clean enough exit from the corner to make the move stick.
That allowed Reynolds to go on and claim his second win of the season, with local driver Scott McLaughlin keeping the New Zealand crowd happy by finishing in third place in his Polestar Racing Volvo.
Winterbottom finished fourth ahead of a charging Shane van Gisbergen – who gained eight positions from his third-placed starting position – who was followed by James Courtney, Tim Slade, Scott Pye, Fabian Coulthard and Garth Tander.
|2015 V8 Supercars ITM 500 Auckland – Race 29 Top-10 Finishers (21 laps)|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time|
|1.||David Reynolds||The Bottle-O Racing Team||26:37.956|
|2.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Racing / Triple 8||+ 0.503|
|3.||Scott McLaughlin||Polestar GRM Volvo||+ 0.871|
|4.||Mark Winterbottom||Prodrive Racing Australia||+ 1.567|
|5.||Shane van Gisbergen||TEKNO Autosports||+ 1.913|
|6.||James Courtney||Holden Racing Team||+ 2.435|
|7.||Tim Slade||Walkinshaw Racing||+ 3.751|
|8.||Scott Pye||DJR Team Penske||+ 4.644|
|9.||Fabian Coulthard||Brad Jones Racing||+ 5.619|
|10.||Garth Tander||Holden Racing Team||+ 6.238|
Image via Bottle-O Racing Team