Ingall And Klien Home 11th In Dick Smith Sandown 500

Supercheap Auto Racing’s Russell Ingall and Christian Klien finished 11th in today’s Dick Smith Sandown 500, denied a top 10 finish after being crashed into on just the fifth lap of the race.

Klien got away to a good start in the 161-lap enduro from 15th and gained a position immediately, the Austrian quickly settling into his first Sandown 500.

But on lap 5 on the approach to turn 9, Klien was hit hard from behind by the Dick Johnson Racing Falcon of Allan Simonsen – the impact pushing Klien into the back of Tony D’Alberto’s Falcon, spinning it into the gravel trap and bringing out the Safety Car.

The Supercheap Auto Commodore was damaged heavily front and rear, but Klien was able to drive wide through the gravel and out the other side and continue on albeit dropping to 26th on track.

From there, Klien continued to lap 33 before pitting for the first time for fuel and tyres, and then rounded out his stint by pitting to hand over to Ingall on lap 72.

Ingall re-joined the race in 22nd and by the halfway mark of the 161 lap race sat in 14th. He moved into 11th by lap 99 before pitting for the last time 18 laps later – after the shuffle of stops the #66 SCAR Commodore 14th with 40 laps to the finish.

The gap to the top 10 cars on track proved to be too great, with Ingall falling just 0.5sec short of breaking into the 10 at the fall of the chequered flag.

Holden’s Craig Lowndes and Warren Luff won the race from Ford’s Mark Winterbottom and Steven Richards, series leader Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell third.

Whincup continues to lead the championship points while Ingall sits 14th after 10 of 15 events – the veteran just 124 points outside the top 10.

The next event on the 2012 V8 Supercars Championship is Australia’s Great Race, the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama on 4-7 October – the event celebrating 50 years at Bathurst.

Russell Ingall, #66 Supercheap Auto Holden VE Commodore Series II:

“I think we were looking good to finish top half dozen but Christian got fired off by one of the DJR cars. He did a great job to get the car through the gravel trap when he got fired off and bring it back from there. 

“The Supercheap Auto Commodore was banged up pretty bad; we lost the rear diffuser and the bonnet was pushed up. It was pretty wounded so we had to deal with that along with some other electronic issues for the rest of the race” 

“We got onto the lead group in the last couple laps and I reckon a few more laps we would have finished inside the 10 – but after what happened we can’t complain with 11th.

“Overall it was a pretty solid weekend; Christian and I worked well together, our Supercheap Auto team did a great job and we dug deep. Bathurst is next and it’s the most important to our team. We’ve been working hard and we’ll be well prepared for the mountain.” 

Christian Klien, #66 Supercheap Auto Holden VE Commodore Series II:

“I had a good start, improved my position and the car had much better balance but then after five laps Allan Simonsen hit me from behind. I had to go wide in turn nine and through the gravel trap and lost all the positions and we dropped to, probably, last.   

“After that the car was good and we could push and I made up one position after another. I ended my stint around P12 so I was pretty happy with that. Russell did some good stints as well.

“I’m now looking forward to racing in the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama.”