Erebus left to reflect after Race 22 disasters

Lee Holdsworth and Michael Caruso tangled after an inside dive from Dean Fiore

Lee Holdsworth and Michael Caruso tangled after an inside dive from Dean Fiore. pic: Aaron Reinke

Erebus Motorsport was left with little to show for its promising pace after all three of its cars struck trouble in Race 22 at Ipswich.

The team was the talk of the paddock on Friday after whispers of impressive speed at its recent test day were backed up by its three cars ending up in the top four on combined practice times.

Benefitting from a healthy tyre bank in the early sessions, the team was further encouraged when Slade and Lee Holdsworth remained in the top five during Saturday morning’s Practice 3.

Slade was the only Erebus driver able to qualify inside the top 10 however, with Holdsworth and Maro Engel mired down in 17th and 18th respectively.

Slade quickly dropped back into the mid-field once the race began, eventually finishing 24th after a mid-race black flag for loose rear bodywork.

Holdsworth fared even worse, chalking up his fourth consecutive failure to finish thanks to contact with Dean Fiore and Michael Caruso in the second 60kms.

The IRWIN Mercedes had been lining up a move on Caruso when Fiore made it three-wide heading into Turn 3, eventually resulting in contact.

“We’re disappointed, I don’t know what we’re going to do,” said a dejected Holdsworth post-race.

“Obviously qualifying down the back there was no good, it’s where you get caught up in all the trouble… it comes looking for you.

“If we can try and get up a bit further I’m sure we’ll start getting some really good results. But at the moment it’s pretty ordinary.”

Engel meanwhile complained of a brake problem from the opening laps; an issue only rectified by a rotor change during the halftime break.

The German had fallen to last during the opening leg, but proved his speed by climbing to 19th by the end of the second segment.

Team manager David Stuart admitted to being disappointed with the qualifying result following the squad’s practice pace.

“Qualifying wasn’t quite as good as we expected, but Tim did a good job to get into the top 10,” he said.

“The race is the race, we saw a high level of contact throughout the entire field and you can’t account for people running into you,” he added.

Slade remains 21st in points after 22 races, while Holdsworth and Engel are just 27th and 28th respectively.

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