V8 Supercars | Ford finishes on top at Sandown 500

2015 V8 Supercars Championship | Sandown 500

Article and Images by Rhys Vandersyde

V8 Supercars Wilson Security Sandown 500 Sunday

Melbourne really turned on its best weather for the Sunday race day at the Sandown 500. With a large crowd lining the fences, teams took to the track early for a short warm up session before the first 161 lap endurance race of the year.

Wilson Security Sandown 500

With the grid set, the entire field elected to put their co-drivers in to start the race. With the co-drivers needing complete a minimum of 54 laps, the strategy would be get the co-drivers laps out of the way before letting the championship drivers fight out the majority of the race.

The race got off to a clean start with Paul Dumbrell leading the field away in the No. 1 Red Bull Racing Australia Commodore. Behind Steve Owen (No. 5 Pepsi Max Crew) and Jonathon Webb (No. 97 Team Darrell Lea) fought it out for second place through the opening laps.

The first round of pit stops kicked off on Lap 15, but with Lap 54 being the critical changeover lap for co-driver, driver changes were put off to the second round of pit-stops later in the race.

The safety car made its first appearance on Lap 74 when the Carsales.com.au Nissan Altima of Todd Kelly found the fence at Dandenong Road. Kelly was quickly recovered with the green flag racing resuming a few laps later. However the safety car triggered the next round of pit-stops making teams having to stretch their fuel and tyre conservation to make it to the final pit-stop.

With just 42 laps to go, the final pit-stops for the teams started with several taking the opportunity to complete a brake pad change to optimise their performance in the final laps.

However it wouldn’t be all smooth running with the second safety car making an appearance with just 29 laps left to go to clear debris on the track. This signalled a sprint to the finish with Mark Winterbottom (No. 5 Pepsi Max Crew) out in front over team mate Chaz Mostert (No. 6 Pepsi Max Crew).

Images by Rhys Vandersyde

Behind the leading pair, the fight for third was a real battle between Shane Van Gisbergen (No. 97 Team Darrell Lea), David Reynolds (No. 55 Bottle-O Racing) and Garth Tander (No. 2 Holden Racing Team).

In a perfect finish, the Pepsi Crew would not to be challenged to take the two top spots on the podium, Winterbottom crossing the line in first place and closely followed by Mostert with Van Gisbergen holding onto third place.

On the podium, it was Mark Winterbottom and Steve Owen on the top step for Ford, Chaz Mostert and Cameron Waters on the second step and Shane Van Gisbergen and Jonathon Webb on the third for Holden

Rick Kelly and David Russell were the best of the Nissan’s finishing tenth. Scott McLaughlin and Alex Premat were the best of the Volvo’s in 14th. While Ash Walsh and Jack Le Brocq finished in 19th for Erebus Mercedes.

Championship

The Sandown 500 victory has extended Mark Winterbottom’s lead over Chaz Mostert in the championship. Winterbottom now sits on 2215 points, leading his Prodrive Racing Australia team mates Mostert with 2017 points and David Reynolds on 1855 points. Craig Lowndes has now dropped to fourth in the championship with 1792 points.

Championship Coverage

The V8 Supercars championship and the Pirtek Enduro Cup continues in October at the iconic Mt Panorama, for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

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For details on the V8 Supercars Championship, click > www.v8supercars.com.au

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