Paul Dumbrell has finally broken his duck after over 10 years of trying and 250 race starts, taking his maiden V8 Supercars race victory in an incident-packed opening leg of the Norton 360 Challenge at Melbourne’s Sandown Raceway.
The Bottle-O driver was himself the cause of much of the action, triggering an opening lap accident with Garth Tander that saw the race red-flagged and Tander’s badly-damaged Holden unable to make the delayed restart.
Dumbrell started the mess when he fluffed his getaway from the front row and then ran very wide at the Turn 1 left-hander, bouncing over the infield to rejoin at Turn 3 and right into Tander’s path, where the TOLL racing driver punctured his front tyre on (of all things) Dumbrell’s exhaust pipe.
Travelling along the back straight, Tander’s front tyres let go on the entry to the high-speed left-hander, spearing the driver head-on into the tyre barriers at considerable speed.
With time lost due to having to repair the barriers, officials shortened the length of the restarted race (which Tander was unable to take part in) due to the time constraints left in the day.
The restarted race saw Dumbrell make another poor getaway and trail behind pole-sitter Jamie Whincup, and he shadowed the Vodafone driver until the pit stops, where a slower stop for Whincup was enough to see Dumbrell assume the effective lead.
When race-leader Greg Murphy fell back with poor fuel consumption, Dumbrell assumed the lead again and held off a four-car chasing pack that included Whincup, Mark Winterbottom, James Courtney and Russell Ingall until the chequered flag was unfurled.
Lee Holdsworth, Rick Kelly, Craig Lowndes, Shane van Gisbergen and Will Davison completed the top ten classified finishers.
Strong results from the principal championship contenders saw Courtney’s championship lead fractionally trimmed to a 32-point margin over Whincup, with Winterbottom (191 behind) and Lowndes (287) the only other drivers still mathematically in contention for the crown.
Race 1 Final Classification (39 laps):
|1.||Paul Dumbrell||The Bottle-O Racing Team||39:19:6126|
|2.||Jamie Whincup||Team Vodafone||+ 0.2150|
|3.||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Performance Racing||+ 0.7011|
|4.||James Courtney||Jim Beam Racing||+ 1.0008|
|5.||Russell Ingall||Supercheap Auto Racing||+ 1.6049|
|6.||Lee Holdsworth||Fujitsu Racing / GRM||+ 9.4535|
|7.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing||+ 11.1740|
|8.||Craig Lowndes||Team Vodafone||+ 11.5091|
|9.||Shane van Gisbergen||SP Tools Racing||+ 12.3040|
|10.||Will Davison||TOLL Holden Racing Team||+ 15.8896|
|11.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s Racing||+ 20.9014|
|12.||Steven Richards||Ford Performance Racing||+ 21.4448|
|13.||Steven Johnson||Jim Beam Racing||+ 21.9170|
|14.||Jason Bright||Trading Post Racing||+ 22.7221|
|15.||Alex Davison||IRWIN Racing||+ 23.4040|
|16.||Michael Caruso||Fujitsu Racing / GRM||+ 23.6367|
|17.||Jason Bargwanna||ROCK Racing||+ 25.9700|
|18.||Tim Slade||Wilson Security Racing||+ 27.7944|
|19.||Dean Fiore||Triple F Racing||+ 28.3725|
|20.||Jonathon Webb||Dick Johnson Racing||+ 28.6708|
|21.||Andrew Jones||Team BOC||+ 38.1266|
|22.||Andrew Thompson||Bundaberg Red Racing||+ 39.4064|
|23.||Greg Murphy||Castrol Edge Racing||+ 42.9151|
|24.||Karl Reindler||Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing||+ 43.0777|
|25.||Tony D’Alberto||Centaur Racing||+ 1:03.5650|
|26.||Tony Ricciardello||Stratco Racing||+ 1:05.3665|
|27.||Warren Luff||Gulf Western Oil Racing||+ 1:07.2427|
|28.||Fabian Coulthard||Bundaberg Red Racing||+ 8 laps|
|NS||Garth Tander||TOLL Holden Racing Team||Did Not Start|
[Original image via V8 Supercars official website]