23/04/2014

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Fabian Coulthard looking for smooth sailing in Auckland

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Following his best-ever start to the V8 Supercar Championship, Fabian Coulthard arrives at Pukekohe as New Zealand's best bet for victory.

Sitting at third on the table, the Holden driver will be hoping for smoother sailing in Auckland after copping a controversial penalty in the last round of racing.

Walking along Auckland's viaduct today, however, it wasn't V8 Supercars he wanted to talk about, but super yachts. He's never sailed the 40-metre sloop Janice of Wyoming but as a cabinet-making apprentice, Coulthard spent plenty of time on board while it was being built a decade ago.

"Racing was a dream, it wasn't a given," he says. "I was never guaranteed to make it, and I was pretty handy with my hands and alloy yachts was the place for me and I could show my skills."

The dream of becoming a professional racing driver has had a few nightmare moments, including a crash at Bathurst.

"It was an important part of my career... it put me on the map for all the wrong reasons but now it's starting to come the other way."

 The turnaround started in 2012 with his first Supercar win.

And Pukekohe has extra meaning for Coulthard's team, who are determined to retain the Jason Richards Trophy.

"[I] saw how emotional Jason Bright was when he won it last year- to see Charlotte there and the kids - it's a pretty emotional thing," says Coulthard.

And expect extra caution in pit lane - after a speed gun shot his victory chances to pieces in Winton.

"It's pretty unique that five of us got pinged on the same day, but if I didn't do the drive-through I would've got a black flag," he says.

The penalty cost Coulthard the championship lead - now he has a chance to right that wrong this weekend.