Last year Craig Lowndes started down in tenth place on the grid in the Auckland Supersprint at the Pukeohe Raceway and fought his way through diversity and an earlier accident to eventually cross the line in second place by the time the weekend came to an end on Sunday, four seconds behind his victorious Red Bull Racing teammate, Jamie Whincup.
The New Zealand event is a very special one as drivers remember their fallen colleague, Jason Richards, who dies of cancer in 2011. Since 2013 the driver to amass the most amount of points over the course of the weekend gets awarded the Jason Richards Trophy in his honour.
Craig has yet to take the honours but now, after a hard fought and tough Enduro season, Lowndsey is looking forward to this weekend's action, where hopefully he can change his fortunes and stand on the top step of the rostrum…
“The enduro season was a hard one to crack this year, but now we are to the end of it, I can look forward to New Zealand,' Craig said on the team's official website. “It is a circuit I enjoy, but I haven't had such great success there in the past. Last year was one of my better runs, which says a lot after our nasty blowout during Saturday's race. I am looking forward to heading back to the track and hopefully getting back on that podium.”
For this year's race, the format has been completely changed and there will be no fuel stops at all throughout the four, two on Saturday and two on Sunday, 100 km races. This means drivers will only need to pit for tyres and strategy won't hold as an important part of the weekend's results as it does at other rounds.