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.

Jamie Whincup, 2014 Sandown 500

Whincup and Dumbrell took a comfortable victory despite a number of Safety Car interruptions.

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 Holden Red Bull Racing Australia 3:22:44.309
2. James Courtney / Greg Murphy Holden Holden Racing Team + 2.654
3. Garth Tander / Warren Luff Holden Holden Racing Team + 5.209
4. Craig Lowndes / Steven Richards Holden Red Bull Racing Australia + 5.674
5. Scott Pye / Ashley Walsh Ford Wilson Security Racing + 8.958
6. Shane van Gisbergen / Jonathon Webb Holden Team TEKNO VIP Petfoods + 12.756
7. Chaz Mostert / Paul Morris Ford Pepsi Max Crew Ford Performance Racing + 13.228
8. Scott McLaughlin / Alexandre Premat Volvo Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM + 15.140
9. David Reynolds / Dean Canto Ford The Bottle-O Racing Team + 17.028
10. Mark Winterbottom / Steve Owen Ford Pepsi Max Crew Ford Performance Racing + 21.064
11. Fabian Coulthard / Luke Youlden Holden Lockwood Racing + 22.210
12. Tim Slade / Tony D’Alberto Holden SuperCheap Auto Racing + 22.981
13. Rick Kelly / David Russell Nissan Jack Daniel’s Racing + 23.269
14. Russell Ingall / Tim Blanchard Holden Repair Management Australia Racing – 1 lap
15. Jack Perkins / Cameron Waters Ford Team Jeld-Wen – 1 lap
16. David Wall / Steven Johnson Ford Wilson Security Racing – 1 lap
17. Robert Dahlgren / Greg Ritter Volvo Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM – 1 lap
18. Michael Caruso / Dean Fiore Nissan Norton Hornets – 1 lap
19. Dale Wood / Chris Pither Holden Team ADVAM / GB – 1 lap
20. Todd Kelly / Alex Buncombe Nissan Jack Daniel’s Racing – 1 lap
21. Will Davison / Alex Davison AMG Erebus Motorsport V8 -2 laps
22. Nick Percat / Oliver Gavin Holden HHA Racing – 34 laps
Not Classified  
DNF. Lee Holdsworth / Craig Baird AMG Erebus Motorsport V8 130 laps
DNF. Jason Bright / Andrew Jones Holden Team BOC 111 laps
DNF. James Moffat / Taz Douglas Nissan Norton Hornets 15 laps

Image via V8 Supercars

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Christian Hartung