Image from www.v8supercars.com.au
It was with great excitement at 3am this morning (probably the only time you can be excited about being awoken at that time) when the alarm clock went and we dragged ourselves out of our respective beds, downstairs to the TV in anticipation of what spectacle of Motorsport we were about to see, and boy did it live it up to the billing.
The first Enduro of the season is over, and a massive congratulations are in order to Prodrive Racing Australia for securing their first ever Enduro 1, 2 finish. As we predicted earlier in the weekend, pretty much anything can happen in V8 Supercar racing and it certainly did today. From the moment the No.1 car of Whincup and Dumbrell headed into turn 1 in first place the Holden/Ford rivalry resumed with vigor, yet just when it looked like Triple Eight were in control and were set to secure their hat-trick of Sandown Victories lady luck showed her darker side and Whincup’s puncture elevated the two PRA Fords into the lead. From that moment they never looked back and Winterbottom lead Mostert home with Shane Van Gisbergen just holding off Tander to come home a fine third. Whincup and Lowndes will be nervously looking over their shoulders when he joins Red Bull Racing Australia for next season.
So after a thrilling 161 laps, the 2015 Wilson Security Sandown 500 is over for another year, and we thought we’d share with you 4 things we learned this afternoon/early morning depending on where you are in the world.
Whincup & Dumbrell had the pace to win, and will surely be a threat at Bathurst
If not for an unfortunate puncture right after a pit-stop, Whincup and Dumbrell would have surely controlled the remaining 60 or so laps and taken their third victory in a row at Sandown. It was an assured performance from the start when Paul Dumbrell lead away from the front a controlled the race from the front in a brand new Holden Commodore. Whilst finishing down in 15th both strips Triple Eight of a probable win, and further dents Whincup’s fading hopes with the reigning champion slipping from 6th to 8th in the table. Fast forward to Bathurst however, and if their form this weekend is anything to go by, you can expect Whincup and Dumbrell to be right back at the front of the field come the race up Mount Panorama.
Cameron Waters is one to watch
Bar one or two small errors towards the end of his opening stint in the Ford Falcon he shared with Mostert, Waters delivered an assured and astonishingly mature drive and one to be commended. Leading the Dunlop series by 173 points from Sunday’s rival Paul Dumbrell, Waters’ performance perhaps comes as no surprise we can’t wait to see him and Mostert back in action at Bathurst. It only seems like yesterday when we remember a certain Nick Percat’s performance on the fabled mountain, and Waters’ career looks set to be heading the same way.
The championship looks set to turn blue in 2015
You’d have to be a pretty confident gambler to bet against one of the Prodrive pair taking this year’s V8 Supercar crown. Whilst the performance of Whincup in his new Commodore will surely see him regain his mojo and an improvement from his mid season form, with both Red Bull Racing cars finishing outside the top ten, another weekend to forget at Bathurst could begin to tip the balance. Winterbottom and Mostert show no signs of letting up, and their form of late (and indeed most of the season) has been superb. With another solid weekend on the mountain, they could seriously start to tip things in their favour.
Ingall’s drive was a demonstration of “class act”
From starting on the penultimate row on the grid, a 9th place finish for Perkins and Ingall can be considered a worthwhile achievement. Following a superb 76 lap 1st stint for the V8 Supercar veteran, Ingall left the HRT commodore in 12th place, allowing Perkins to continue the charge and score some much deserved points for the Holden factory squad. Speaking to Greg Murphy after his stint, Ingall said “We just had to play this (pitting early in order to get clean track ahead)– it was risky to do what we did and pit early, but at the end of the day we had nothing to lose from where we started so just give it a swing and see what happens.” Well it certainly worked out this afternoon!
So, there you have it, four lessons we learned from the Sandown 500 today, what are yours?
Here are some of our other highlights from the 161 lap Enduro this afternoon.
- Lap 18 – The fuel filter being left in Premat’s Volvo
- Lap 28 – Dean Canto’s overtake on the Volvo of Pither
- Lap 57 – Webb cutting into Dumbrell’s lead
- Lap 58 – Incredible stint from Water’s to move the number 6 Ford Falcon ahead of Winterbottom and Owen.
- Closing laps – Garth Tander’s charge through the field in the final laps.
We hope you enjoyed the race as much as we did, and we’ll be back with more round up from the Sandown 500 later this week! Until then, the DTM at Oscherleben is about to start……