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Saturday, December 1, 2012
Heat hammers V8 drivers in Sydney

By Will Knight

Veteran V8 Supercars driver Russell Ingall warned that Sydney's severe heat might turn him and his colleagues into boiled eggs and it certainly ended up scrambling a few minds.

But Craig Lowndes dealt with the draining conditions best in the first race of the Sydney 500 event on Saturday, poaching the lead late in the race to speed to victory.

The Holden driver took advantage of a mistake from a weary and dehydrated Tim Slade, who was one of many drivers to struggle as temperatures reached 36C in the sun and about 65C in the cabins of the cars.

"I ran out of water with about 20 laps to go, so I was cooking inside," said Slade after the 250km race.

"So that perhaps forced a little mistake."

But the biggest casualty of the heat was Alex Premat, who was dragged limp from his car three-quarters through the race due to severe dehydration.

Messages came through over the radio from his pit crew of "get him water, get him water" before the Frenchman was taken to hospital.

Drivers were warned they could lose up to eight litres of sweat during the 74-lap race.

And Holden pilot Ingall described at the starting grid the precautions that are taken when the mercury climbs into the 30s, including the use of cool suits as well as helmet and cabin ventilation.

"You need it or you're going to turn into a boiled egg," said Ingall.

Ford driver David Reynolds, meanwhile, may have won the title for the most bizarre pit stops of the season.

While the safety car was out, the 27-year-old took the opportunity to change his driving boots after the excessive heat burnt a hole in his soles.

Lowndes suggested later that officials should've taken action.

"In that middle section... my feet must have been 105C degrees!" said Lowndes.

"I think there's a regulation that you pull the front windows out at a certain temperature so perhaps that could've been activated."

Although Holden's James Courtney, who finished third, was more philosophical about the "ridiculous heat".

"It was quite hot, but when the car is going okay and when you're at the front you can put up with it," he said.

"It's a small price to pay for doing something you love. So you just need to suck it up."

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