V8 Supercars championship leader Jamie Whincup and his Red Bull Racing co-driver Paul Dumbrell have won the Sandown 500 endurance race. It was a largely dominant display from the duo, who led an all-Holden podium ahead of the factory HRTs of James Courtney/Greg Murphy and Garth Tander/Warren Luff.
The Whincup/Dumbrell Red Bull Holden was off to a flying start from pole position, with Dumbrell behind the wheel for the opening leg. The early part of the race saw a tight battle between Alexandre Prémat’s Volvo and David Reynolds’ Bottle O Ford, which ended when the latter took a short trip onto the gravel.
Starting well down the order, the Erebus AMG Mercedes of Alex and Will Davison was into the pits early, gambling with a different strategy to the rest of the field.
By Lap 12, Dumbrell was still out in front, 2.2 seconds ahead of Jonathon Webb in the TEKNO Holden.
There were worried faces in the Nissan garage after the fuel filler became stuck in the #360 Norton Hornet of James Moffat/Taz Douglas. Fuel spilled in the pit lane, but fire marshals were onto it quickly to douse the car with fire extinguishers.
Greg Murphy was next to pit in his #22 HRT Holden and grab fuel among a number of others drivers, which handed the lead to Reynolds and Prémat while early leaders Dumbrell and Webb emerged from their first pit stop in ninth and tenth respectively.
On Lap 24, the Bottle-O Ford pitted from the lead and Reynolds handed over controls to co-driver Dean Canto.
The TEKNO Holden crew’s hopes of challenging for victory were dealt a blow when the #97 car began suffering from power steering issues. Van Gisbergen and Webb finished a gallant sixth at the end of the race.
At a quarter-distance and once the first round of pit stops had all shaken out, Dumbrell was a whopping 14.8 seconds in front and ready to hand over the controls to Whincup. But their lead evaporated when the Safety Car was called out after someone managed to dislodge a cone along the back straight, meaning the #1 Holden would have to build a gap all over again.
Whincup’s main championship rival Mark Winterbottom had his hopes of eating into the reigning champion’s points lead dealt a hit when his co-driver, Steve Owen, spun off at Turn 4, falling from fifth to fifteenth. The sister Ford of Reynolds/Canto was handed a pit lane penalty for spinning its rear wheels during a pit stop, putting them down the order as well.
Whincup took control of the RBR Holden and didn’t waste any time building up another healthy eight-second lead over second-placed Courtney.
The steady lead again evaporated with another Safety Car, this time brought about by a huge accident for Lee Holdsworth’s Erebus AMG on Lap 133. The Mercedes appeared to lose control at the end of the back straight, slamming into the barriers at well over 200km/h and all but writing off the car. He was taken by the emergency medical team for checks and was fortunately uninjured, but the wreckage caused a lengthy full-course caution and set up the field for a grandstand sprint to the chequered flag.
The Safety Car pulled in with 20 laps to go and Whincup quickly scampered off, clocking the fastest lap along the way to eke out a four-second lead over Courtney. Teammate Tander was having to defend his third place from the sister Red Bull Holden of Craig Lowndes, but ultimately prevailed.
The V8s now head off to the unforgiving Mount Panorama circuit in Bathurst in October.
2014 V8 Supercars Sandown 500 – Feature Race (161 laps):
|Driver||Team / Entry||Result|
|1.||Jamie Whincup / Paul Dumbrell||Red Bull Racing Australia||3:22:44.309|
|2.||James Courtney / Greg Murphy||Holden Racing Team||+ 2.654|
|3.||Garth Tander / Warren Luff||Holden Racing Team||+ 5.209|
|4.||Craig Lowndes / Steven Richards||Red Bull Racing Australia||+ 5.674|
|5.||Scott Pye / Ashley Walsh||Wilson Security Racing||+ 8.958|
|6.||Shane van Gisbergen / Jonathon Webb||Team TEKNO VIP Petfoods||+ 12.756|
|7.||Chaz Mostert / Paul Morris||Pepsi Max Crew Ford Performance Racing||+ 13.228|
|8.||Scott McLaughlin / Alexandre Premat||Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM||+ 15.140|
|9.||David Reynolds / Dean Canto||The Bottle-O Racing Team||+ 17.028|
|10.||Mark Winterbottom / Steve Owen||Pepsi Max Crew Ford Performance Racing||+ 21.064|
|11.||Fabian Coulthard / Luke Youlden||Lockwood Racing||+ 22.210|
|12.||Tim Slade / Tony D’Alberto||SuperCheap Auto Racing||+ 22.981|
|13.||Rick Kelly / David Russell||Jack Daniel’s Racing||+ 23.269|
|14.||Russell Ingall / Tim Blanchard||Repair Management Australia Racing||– 1 lap|
|15.||Jack Perkins / Cameron Waters||Team Jeld-Wen||– 1 lap|
|16.||David Wall / Steven Johnson||Wilson Security Racing||– 1 lap|
|17.||Robert Dahlgren / Greg Ritter||Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM||– 1 lap|
|18.||Michael Caruso / Dean Fiore||Norton Hornets||– 1 lap|
|19.||Dale Wood / Chris Pither||Team ADVAM / GB||– 1 lap|
|20.||Todd Kelly / Alex Buncombe||Jack Daniel’s Racing||– 1 lap|
|21.||Will Davison / Alex Davison||Erebus Motorsport V8||-2 laps|
|22.||Nick Percat / Oliver Gavin||HHA Racing||– 34 laps|
|DNF.||Lee Holdsworth / Craig Baird||Erebus Motorsport V8||130 laps|
|DNF.||Jason Bright / Andrew Jones||Team BOC||111 laps|
|DNF.||James Moffat / Taz Douglas||Norton Hornets||15 laps|
Image via V8 Supercars