Shane van Gisbergen and his Stone Brothers Racing Ford co-driver Luke Youlden will start from pole position for Sunday’s Sandown 500 V8 Supercars race after both drivers won their respective qualifying ‘sprint’ races today.
Under this year’s format, qualifying for the main event race would be determined by the finishing results of Saturday’s second 20-lap race, driven by all of the field’s regular drivers. In turn the grid order for that race was determined by the finishing order of the first 20-lap race, which was contested by all of the co-drivers.
The first hurdle was to deal with a Saturday morning qualifying session, and that session threw up a few surprises, not least of which being comparatively poor performances for the Triple 8 Holden line-up of Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup, who could only manage the fourth- and tenth-fastest efforts in the morning’s 20-minute session. That being said, Lowndes was just nine-hundredths off pole position, and Whincup was only 0.35 seconds slower – such is the level of competition in this championship category…
Former championship leader Will Davison (Ford Performance Racing) qualified quickest overall with a time of 1:10.3670, and managed to beat Garth Tander (Holden Racing Team) to top spot by a scant seven-thousandths of a second.
Less than eight-hundredths of a second behind was van Gisbergen, and it was his co-driver Luke Youlden who brought home a valuable win and fifty championship points as his reward.
McIntyre hung onto second place until he was overhauled by Dean Canto (co-driver to FPR stablemate David Reynolds) with just five laps to go.
Bundled off the racing line, McIntyre was also passed by Paul Dumbrell (making a return from retirement to co-pilot Whincup’s car), who had charged to fourth from his tenth-placed starting position in the early laps.
Dumbrell’s cause was helped by a first-corner tangle that saw Steven Richards (co-driver to championship challenger Mark Winterbottom) spun out by contact between Paul Morris and David Besnard, both of whom had reputations in their former full-time careers as being very accident-prone.
Richards would bring his battered car home in 19th place, but the Ford Performance Racing team would commit its own blunder by breaching parc fermé conditions after the race, leading to Richards being disqualified from the race and Winterbottom having to start the second race from the back of the grid…
2012 V8 Supercars Sandown 500 – Qualifying Race 1 Result (20 laps):
|Driver||Entry / Team||Result||Grid|
|1.||Luke Youlden||SP Tools / Stone Brothers Racing||23:57.8838||3|
|2.||Paul Dumbrell||Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Racing||+ 0.2210||10|
|3.||Dean Canto||The Bottle-O Racing Team / Rod Nash||+ 0.4646||5|
|4.||John McIntyre||Trading Post / Ford Performance Racing||+ 1.9952||1|
|5.||Warren Luff||Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Racing||+ 2.2993||4|
|6.||Nick Percat||TOLL / Holden Racing Team||+ 3.2744||2|
|7.||Scott McLaughlin||Tekno Autosports||+ 3.6669||9|
|8.||Andrew Thompson||Lucky 7 Racing / Stone Brothers Racing||+ 4.5652||13|
|9.||Greg Ritter||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 4.8483||15|
|10.||Alex Davison||Team Norton / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 6.9529||11|
|11.||Cameron McConville||TOLL / Holden Racing Team||+ 7.2934||16|
|12.||David Russell||Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing||+ 8.8033||12|
|13.||Andrew Jones||Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing||+ 9.1219||14|
|14.||Craig Baird||Irwin Racing / Stone Brothers Racing||+ 11.2062||20|
|15.||Matt Halliday||Jim Beam Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 13.9671||17|
|16.||Dale Wood||HIFLEX Racing / Tony D’Alberto Racing||+ 14.4707||19|
|17.||Tim Blanchard||Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing||+ 14.7887||24|
|18.||Chris Pither||Wilson Security / Brad Jones Racing||+ 17.7552||22|
|19.||Christian Klien||Supercheap Auto / Walkinshaw Racing||+ 18.4586||21|
|20.||Jack Perkins||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 24.4644||23|
|21.||Owen Kelly||Pepsi Max Crew / Kelly Racing||+ 25.0517||26|
|22.||Scott Pye||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||+ 27.1373||28|
|23.||David Besnard||Lockwood Racing / Brad Jones Racing||+ 27.6734||8|
|24.||Daniel Gaunt||Fair Dinkum Sheds / Kelly Racing||+ 28.3284||27|
|25.||Jonny Reid||Tekno Autosports||+ 28.6502||25|
|26.||Allan Simonsen||Jim Beam Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 35.0844||18|
|27.||Paul Morris||VIP Petfoods / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 1:00.9094||7|
|DQ.||Steven Richards||Orrcon Steel / Ford Performance Racing||Infringement||6|
While the co-drivers had driven a comparatively clean race to hand over their cars to their respective counterparts, it appeared that some of the main drivers hadn’t read the memo about bringing their cars home in one piece.
The later afternoon’s race was a classic case of ‘rubbing is racing’, and while the biff and barge up and down the field certainly delighted commentators and fans alike, it left almost all teams’ mechanics faced with a hard night’s slog to repair their cars for Sunday’s 161-lap endurance race.
Such was the scale of the panel-bending that only one of the four min championship contenders managed a top-ten finish, and that was Craig Lowndes who finished in seventh place!
Starting from second position, points leader Jamie Whincup took the lead on the sprint into the first corner and kept van Gisbergen at bay until the thirteenth lap, at which point he had a major lock-up and slid off the circuit at Turn 9.
Less than half a lap later and Whincup had his second major incident, this time at Turn 4. Catching the flat-spot he’d created in his earlier off, he slid into the tyre wall. After reversing out of this mess, he limped home 19th.
Whincup’s primary title rival, Mark Winterbottom, drove a sensible race while everyone around him lost their heads, climbing up to finish 16th after starting bog last.
Winterbottom’s team-mate Will Davison was also in the wars, getting involved in the traditional first-lap shenanigans, and then later picking up more damage when he tripped over James Moffat and Lee Holdsworth as they came together in front of him. After pitting for repairs, he finished 27th and will start Sunday’s race from the back row of the grid.
Lowndes wasn’t immune from drama either, also suffering a lock-up and a gravelly moment when he ran wide at Turn 9. He managed to scramble back through the pack and finished seventh.
But with Whincup out of the way, it was van Gisbergen who came through to claim a valuable win and put Stone Brothers Racing back into contention as a realistic challenger to win the Sandown 500.
He finished the race ahead of David Reynolds, while Garth Tander completed the podium.
2012 V8 Supercars Sandown 500 – Qualifying Race 2 Result (20 laps):
|Driver||Entry / Team||Result||Grid|
|1.||Shane van Gisbergen||SP Tools / Stone Brothers Racing||25:32.6693||12|
|2.||David Reynolds||The Bottle-O Racing Team / Rod Nash||+ 3.0274||3|
|3.||Garth Tander||TOLL / Holden Racing Team||+ 5.9716||36|
|4.||Tim Slade||Lucky 7 Racing / Stone Brothers Racing||+ 7.3588||8|
|5.||Michael Caruso||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 12.6230||9|
|6.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing||+ 12.8124||12|
|7.||Craig Lowndes||Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Racing||+ 16.4835||5|
|8.||James Courtney||TOLL / Holden Racing Team||+ 17.4686||11|
|9.||Jonathon Webb||Tekno Autosports||+ 18.2465||7|
|10.||Jason Bright||Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing||+ 18.2479||13|
|11.||James Moffat||Team Norton / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 18.9533||10|
|12.||Steven Johnson||Jim Beam Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 20.4284||26|
|13.||Lee Holdsworth||Irwin Racing / Stone Brothers Racing||+ 20.9392||14|
|14.||Tony D’Alberto||HIFLEX Racing / Tony D’Alberto Racing||+ 22.0212||16|
|15.||Russell Ingall||Supercheap Auto / Walkinshaw Racing||+ 22.3070||19|
|16.||Mark Winterbottom||Orrcon Steel / Ford Performance Racing||+ 22.7164||28|
|17.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing||+ 23.6294||17|
|18.||Fabian Coulthard||Lockwood Racing / Brad Jones Racing||+ 23.9580||23|
|19.||Jamie Whincup||Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Racing||+ 24.4774||2|
|20.||David Wall||Wilson Security / Brad Jones Racing||+ 26.3544||18|
|21.||Dean Fiore||Jim Beam Racing / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 27.2253||15|
|22.||Steve Owen||VIP Petfoods / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 28.3058||27|
|23.||Alexandre Prémat||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 30.3326||20|
|24.||Michael Patrizi||Tekno Autosports||+ 32.3779||25|
|25.||Karl Reindler||Fair Dinkum Sheds / Kelly Racing||+ 34.4652||24|
|26.||Greg Murphy||Pepsi Max Crew / Kelly Racing||+ 46.2835||21|
|27.||Will Davison||Trading Post / Ford Performance Racing||+ 2 laps||4|
|28.||Taz Douglas||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||+ 2 laps||22|