Old Bulls turn back clock to claim enduro cup
Jamie Whincup has raced to back-to-back Sandown 500 wins after he and Craig Lowndes prospered from late-race heartache for teammate Shane van Gisbergen in a dramatic day for the Red Bull Holden Racing Team.
On a day when Scott McLaughlin sealed his second Supercars championship after being slapped with another Bathurst 1000 penalty for an engine breach, Whincup and Lowndes claimed their second win of the endurance season after being reunited as a driver pairing this year.
Back together 10 years after they last combined, Whincup and Lowndes added to their victory at the Gold Coast 600 last round to continue a late-season resurgence from the factory Holden team.
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Jamie Whincup (R) and Craig Lowndes with the Sandown trophy. Picture: Robert Cianflone/GettySource:Getty Images
Whincup was on track for a podium behind van Gisbergen before trouble hit the New Zealander with 11 laps to go after he and co-driver Garth Tander had completed a stunning comeback from the back of the field.
Holding a comfortable lead over Whincup, smoke started to billow from the rear right wheel of van Gisbergen’s Commodore and he was forced into the pits for repairs, finishing in 17th place.
The victory handed Whincup his fifth victory at Sandown and Lowndes his sixth and also delivered the pair the Supercars enduro cup.
The Tickford Racing pairings of Chaz Mostert and James Moffat and Lee Holdsworth and Thomas Randle finished second and third.
Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes with the Red Bulls team. Picture: Robert Cianflone/GettySource:Getty Images
Whincup said he felt for van Gisbergen, but was happy to take race victory.
“Obviously commiserations to (car) 97, they did a great job today,” Whincup said.
“But at the same time we have been on the receiving end of that one many a time as well so we will certainly take it.
“Big thanks to CL he has done an amazing job all season of endurance.”
In his first year as a co-driver, Lowndes admitted the result was bittersweet after the trouble that hit their teammates.
“We had a great car all weekend, Jamie and I had a really cracking day yesterday and got off to a reasonable start today,” Lowndes said.
“It’s a shame for 97, they came from the back of the grid to the front. It’s sort of happy and sad at the same time.”
Jamie Whincup flies to the flag. Picture: Robert Cianflone/GettySource:Getty Images
Having starting the race from 24th on the grid after van Gisbergen’s opening-lap first-turn tangle with Anton De Pasquale in Saturday’s sprint race that ended in a DNF for car No.97, co-driver Tander produced a monster opening stint to put the pair back into race contention.
Tander, in his first year as a co-driver for Triple Eight after he was dumped by Garry Rogers Motorsport at the end of last year, charged through half the field in the first 10 laps.
By lap 47, the three-time Bathurst winner had pushed his way up to second place behind Lowndes with van Gisbergen taking control late in the race before disaster struck.
Van Gisbergen’s result increased McLaughlin’s lead over him in the championship to 550 points after the DJR Team Penske star finished ninth, sealing consecutive championship wins.
There was heartache for Erebus Motorsport’s David Reynolds after his co-driver Luke Youlden came off second best in a lap 32 tangle with Rick Kelly’s co-driver Dale Wood.
Shane van Gisbergen’s race hit a hurdle. Picture: Robert Cianflone/GettySource:Getty Images
The incident forced both cars back to the garage, but the damage to the Reynolds-Youlden car was too great and they were unable to return to the race.
Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters was also left fuming at rookie driver Jake Kostecki after his co-driver Michael Caruso was put into a wall.
While the Waters-Caruso car was able to return to the race after repairs, the incident cruelled Waters’ Sandown hopes as he finished 21st.
“It was just bloody stupid,” Waters said.
“You have these wild cards and they are fast but they are just dumb.”
It was the farewell endurance race at Sandown, which will move to a sprint format next year as the 500km race returns to its traditional pre-Bathurst slot at South Australia’s Tailem Bend.
Originally published asOld Bulls turn back clock to claim enduro cup
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