Preston Hire Racing have pushed their speed and developed their understanding of the Number 18 car at the Winton SuperSprint for Round 5 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
Endurance Co-Driver Karl Reindler joined the Preston Hire Racing Team over the weekend at their home track and took part in the Additional Driver Practice where finished P21 driving on a mix of tyres from Perth.
“The car balance was a little different to what we had at test day, which didn’t feel right so I came in and settled for a bit and went back out, got into a rhythm and the car started getting better and the fastest lap was the last one and that’s a good sign,” Reindler said.
The Preston Hire Racing team struggled with the car balance on the new Winton track in Practice 1 and 2, finishing P19 and P23 respectively.
Saturday’s final Practice saw the team catch up from their previous results and improve the car balance to finish P16.
Driver Lee Holdsworth scored the best results in Qualifying this season for Race 10 where the Number 18 Car finished P6.
“Great result, we were first Triple Eight car home. Lee put a great lap together, leaving a little bit more on the table and I feel we have a good race car,” Schwerkolt said.
A solid session in Race 10 saw the Preston Hire Racing Team finish in the Top 10, after overcoming a pit stop drama and hit from Courtney.
“It was good to be in the top 10, a hit from behind dropped us some places followed by a poor pit stop that was 3.5 secs longer than any other team due to factors out of our control, but Lee drove really well and kept Bright at bay,” Schwerkolt said.
The times for Race 11 Qualifying were extremely close across the field, with Holdsworth finishing P14 after struggling with the car setup.
“The field was so close that it was ridiculous, we learnt that we went the wrong direction with the car for qualifying so I put the best lap I could together,” Holdsworth said.
Race 11 was uneventful for the Preston Hire Racing Team, forced to leave the race early when a mechanical issue with the car rendered their day finished.
“Got off to a great start and went from 14th to 7th by lap 2, we had a really quick car and top 3 race pace the whole time we were out there. We pitted quite early in the race but went for the long stop so we actually ended up dropping into a position which was looking very promising as we were going to do a short stop next,” Holdsworth said.
“The race pace was strong and I thought we were looking really strong for a good position in the race but coming into turn 1 under acceleration after I pulled 5th gear something crunched and I lost all drive and couldn’t select a gear or anything and had to pull it up on the side of the track, very unfortunate.”
“It’s the same issue that happened to Whincup at the Grand Prix, as far as the weekend goes we showed plenty of promise in both quali and race speed so in a lot of ways that was our strongest round in terms of overall speed, obviously pit stops were still an issue and a bad spot of luck,” he continued.
Schwerkolt and Holdsworth are now headed to America for the 100th Indy 500 to support Holdsworth’s previous co-driver, Sebastien Bourdais and Matt Brabham for the before heading to Darwin.
Preston Hire Racing will now prepare for Round 6 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship at the Darwin Triple Crown on June 17-19 with all races to be televised LIVE on FOX Sports.