Craig Lowndes has handed the Red Bull Holden Racing Team their first win of the weekend, leading the co-driver 20-lap sprint race from start to finish at a rain drenched Penrite Oil Sandown 500.
The veteran claimed his 109th career victory and hands Jamie Whincup a pole position start in the primary drivers’ sprint race this afternoon, with its finishing order determining the starting grid for Sunday’s 500-kilometre feature.
Lowndes had a faultless jump off the line speeding ahead of polesitter Alexandre Prémat (DJR Team Penske). This became a Red Bull Holden Racing Team 1-2 as Shane van Gisbergen’s co-driver Garth Tander slipped his Holden ZB Commodore into second place.
Prémat’s poor start off the line pushed him into a three-way battle for third heading in Turn 1, with Bryce Fullwood (Kelly Racing) forced wide as the Frenchman narrowly avoided contact with Will Brown (Erebus Motorsport) in his his bid to hang onto third place.
Brown and Fullwood battled for fourth and fifth while Prémat closed the gap to Tander in the opening laps. As the rain turned heavy at the southern end of the track by Lap 10, Ash Walsh came off the track at Turn 9 but was able to avoid contact with the barriers or other cars.
The deteriorating conditions saw the young drivers Brown and Fullwood attack the back of Prémat’s Mustang heading into Lap 12 with both drivers diving down the inside of the Shell V-Power co-driver on the straight.
Just moments after passing Prémat for third, Fullwood touched the kerb at Turn 4 and fully rotated his Nissan, ending back on the track facing the wrong way. Lightning quick reactions from Prémat prevented a collision.
Brown continued his impressive performance, gaining six places and applying pressure to Tander on Lap 14, getting by the three-time Bathurst winner to take second position and his best Supercars co-driver career result.
The battle for fifth saw Tickford Racing teammates James Moffat (Supercheap Auto Mustang) and Thomas Randall (Bottle-O Mustang) scuffle with Prémat before coming together on Lap 14, sending Moffatt on to the grass. That triggered a steering issue that sent Moffat into the wall moments later, ending his race.
A furious Moffat told Supercars pit lane reporter Greg Murphy in the Tickford garage: “It was bloody Prémat, I got down the inside of him at Turn 6 and he shouldn’t have been in front of me in the first place; then I ran a bit wide at the Turn 1 exit and he gave no room. You can’t just bail out of a corner and maintain position.”
Randall held fifth position ahead of Prémat for the remaining laps with Luke Youlden (Erebus Motorsport) claiming seventh ahead of Michael Caruso (Tickford Racing), while Richard Muscat (Garry Rogers Motorsport) and Alex Davison (23Red Racing) rounded out the top ten.
The Red Bull Holden Racing team will be looking to make it two from two this afternoon as championship leader Scott McLaughlin (DJR Team Penske) will start from fifth for Race 29. McLaughlin is looking to finish the weekend 300 points ahead of his sole title rival Shane van Gisbergen (Red Bull Holden Racing Team) to seal back-to-back Supercars Championship crowns.
“We said at the start of the race, it doesn’t matter where we get off the line, just keep it clean, let’s get on with it,” said race-winner Lowndes.
“The start was mega, we just got off the line and the first four or five laps the car started to come to us.”
Race 29 will start at 5.20pm local time (GMT +11).
|2019 Australian Supercars Championship Penrite Oil Sandown 500 – Race 28 Final Classification (20 laps)|
|1.||Craig Lowndes||Red Bull Holden Racing||23:37.551|
|2.||Will Brown||Penrite Racing||+ 2.594|
|3.||Garth Tander||Red Bull Holden Racing||+ 3.592|
|4.||Bryce Fullwood||Plus Fitness Racing||+ 5.614|
|5.||Thomas Randle||The Bottle-O Racing||+ 7.409|
|6.||Alexandre Prémat||Shell V-Power Racing Team||+ 11.753|
|7.||Luke Youlden||Penrite Racing||+ 14.373|
|8.||Michael Caruso||Monster Energy Racing Team||+ 14.938|
|9.||Richard Muscat||Boost Mobile Racing||+ 19.275|
|10.||Alex Davison||Milwaukee Racing||+ 19.461|
|11.||Warren Luff||Mobil 1 Racing||+ 20.025|
|12.||Steven Richards||Irwin Racing||+ 23.013|
|13.||Tony D’Alberto||Shell V-Power Racing Team||+ 23.136|
|14.||Dale Wood||Castrol Racing||+ 23.623|
|15.||Dean Fiore||RABBLE.club Racing||+ 24.056|
|16.||Tim Blanchard||Fujitsu Racing||+ 25.682|
|17.||Chris Pither||Boost Mobile Racing||+ 26.040|
|18.||Jack Perkins||Mobil 1 Racing||+ 27.041|
|19.||Alex Rullo||Team Harvey Norman||+ 34.767|
|20.||Jonathon Webb||Truck Assist TEKNO Racing||+ 35.207|
|21.||Jake Kostecki||Boost Mobile Kostecki Brothers||+ 35.830|
|22.||Dean Canto||Team CoolDrive||+ 36.366|
|23.||Ashley Walsh||Freightliner Racing||+ 45.710|
|24.||Jack Smith||Bigmate Racing||+56.314|
|DNF.||James Moffat||Supercheap Auto Racing||Steering|
- To be advised
Image via Red Bull Holden Racing Team