Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell have defended their Sandown crown in emphatic fashion taking a second consecutive victory in the Wilson Security Sandown 500.
Dumbrell led from pole, losing the lead briefly during the first pitstop cycle, but built an impressive lead before handing over to Whincup on lap 85 and the Red Bull Racing Australia pairing were never seriously challenged over the 161 lap race.
2.5s further back, James Courtney/Greg Murphy took second place, while Garth Tander/Warren Luff stood firm in the battle for the last spot to land a double-podium for the Holden Racing Team, following a late charge from fourth-placed Craig Lowndes/Steven Richards.
After taking over from Murphy, Courtney whittled down Whincup’s lead but his charge was halted after getting stuck behind backmarkers Russell Ingall and Robert Dahlgren when the race resumed on lap 140 following the race’s second safety car deployment.
The second full course yellows came out after a serious crash on lap 133 involving Lee Holdsworth. The #4 Erebus Mercedes Benz AMG E63 appeared to suffer a loss of brakes and Holdsworth lost control at high speed at the end of the back straight hitting the tyre wall at around 260km/h causing extensive damage to the entire car. Holdsworth walked away from the incident unharmed. Unfortunately, for Jason Bright an already bad day was further compounded when a wheel from Holdsworth’s car caught the Team BOC Holden bringing his and co-driver Andrew Jones’ day to an end, after losing 17 laps earlier in the race to replace a punctured radiator.
Wilson Security Racing combo Scott Pye and Ash Walsh were the first Ford to cross the line in fifth, ahead of Shane van Gisbergen and Jonathon Webb, who had spent much of the early part of the race in second before a lack of rear grip saw the Team TEKNO VIP entry drop down the order. Starting from 19th, Walsh climbed up into the top ten before handing over to Pye.
Opting for a five stop strategy paid dividends for Ford Pepsi Max Crew’s Chaz Mostert and Paul Morris, who took a seventh place finish, although he appeared to bump the Volvo of Scott McLaughlin in the closing laps to take the position.
McLaughlin and co-driver endured a tough day after the Valvoline Racing GRM duo had to fight their way back through the field after Prémat was blocked in the pit-lane by Oliver Gavin during the first safety car deployment, while the HHA Racing Commodore waited for his Walkinshaw Racing team-mate Tony D’Alberto to exit. The delay dropped Prémat down four positions to 14th.
The Bottle-O Racing Team’s David Reynolds and Dean Canto took ninth despite a drive through penalty after Reynolds Ford was caught spinning its wheels during a pit-stop. Reynolds, the only primary driver to take the start, had earlier climbed up to third from eighth before the first pit stop cycle.
Ford’s Mark Winterbottom clawed his way into the top ten after co-driver Steve Owen spun the ill-handling Falcon at Turn 4 having ran over the Turn 3 exit kerb and touching the grass on lap 78. The off-track excursion dropped him from 7th to 15th. Winterbottom also lost ground in the Championship hunt as Lowndes’ fourth place finish moved him six points ahead of the Ford Pepsi Max Crew driver. Whincup’s victory extends his points lead to 273 points.
Adding to the two retirements of Holdsworth and Bright, it was also game over after just 18 laps for the #360 car of Taz Douglas/James Moffat. Making the first of its scheduled pit-stops, the coupling on the fuel filler stuck and the crew were unable to remove fuel hose as fuel spilled out. The Altima was pushed into the garage and the team later confirmed a dry brake failure and retired the car.
The V8 Supercars now head to Mount Panorama for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 in October for the second of the three-leg PIRTEK Enduro Cup races.