Two days after scaring a burglar out of his home, Lee Holdsworth has steered his way to second in practice for the V8 Supercars meet at Winton.
On Wednesday night, Erebus Mercedes driver Holdsworth jumped out of the shower to scare an intruder out of the house.
Fast forward to Friday afternoon and 1500 kilometres south, the fully clothed Holdsworth successfully navigated his E63 AMG around an unpredictable circuit.
The usually low-key Holdsworth said his story of naked courage had got “a pretty good ride” through the week but he was able to switch off into race mode.
“When you have something like that happen it’s certainly something you don’t get over straight away,” he said.
“But when you get in the car nothing crosses your mind but what’s going on in your car and how you can improve it.”
Team-mate Will Davison also had a handy afternoon – quickest in the opening session before finishing 10th.
The Erebus team has been a surprise packet this year – sitting as the best constructor outside more established Holden and Ford teams – despite the emergence of Scott McLaughlin’s Volvo as a title contender.
Holdsworth said his team’s strong work in the off-season was now paying dividends.
“We made a major step forward over the break … we’ve made gains with the car and everything we’ve been searching for we’ve been able to improve on,” he said.
“But it’s still Friday and there’s a long way to go. I’ve been here before when it all turns to crap on the Saturday.”
His time would have set a new practice lap record at Winton but for a sensational drive from Fabian Coulthard, who was fastest with a 1 minute 20.8 second lap.
The field endured a tough day with a track sealant coming off during the practice sessions, with globs of tar covering ever car as they pitted.
Coulthard the resurfacing, as well as rain during the second session, contributed to a tricky time on course.
“The car feels unbelievably good, but the next lap it feels shocking,” he said.
“I think it’s getting better as the day progresses. Hopefully we’ve seen the back end of it.”
He predicted quicker times in qualifying on Saturday morning for the two 100 kilometre races in the afternoon.