Supercars: Whincup, Lowndes winners at Sandown, McLaughlin secures the title
Red Bull Holden Racing Team’s Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes are the winners of the Penrite Oil Sandown 500 at Sandown Raceway, the penultimate round of the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
It’s their first Sandown 500 victory together in 12 years. For Whincup, it’s his 117th Supercars victory in a career while Lowndes recorded 110th victory.
As expected, the championship leader Scott McLaughlin (Shell V-Power Racing/DJR Team Penske) secured his second championship title in a row after scoring valuable points with the ninth-place finish in the #17 Ford Mustang GT which he was sharing at Sandown with Alexandre Premat.
The #888 Red Bull Holden crossed the finish line as the winning car only after the #97 Red Bull Holden of Shane van Gisbergen/Garth Tander suffered a heartbreaking right-rear damper failure while leading.
Prior to that, they made fantastic progress from 24th place. They started from the back of the grid due to Van Gisbergen’s DNF in the second Saturday print race. Tander ran longer than the majority of rivals and made up 22 places in 72 laps before jumping out. Van Gisbergen then took the car and passed Whincup for the lead on lap 134. Unfortunately, with ten laps remaining Van Gisbergen had to pull into the pits for repairs, dropping two laps down to 17th place.
Whincup/Lowndes shared a podium with two Tickford Racing crews – Chaz Mostert/James Moffat finished second and Lee Holdsworth/Thomas Randle were third. The championship leader Scott McLaughlin finished ninth after being relegated to the back of the grid for its controversial Bathurst engine breach.
On Saturday, Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup have won in two sprint races. First, Craig Lowndes has beaten Penrite Racing’s Will Brown to victory in an action-packed co-driver sprint race. Garth Tander finished third in the sister Red Bull Holden.
Lowndes’ victory gave primary driver Jamie Whincup the ideal starting position for the second 20-lap sprint race of the afternoon, which set the grid for the 500km Sunday race. Whincup and other front-runners took wet tyres on the wet track while eleven drivers chose slicks but that turned to be a wrong idea. The 11 drivers who started on slicks all lost out, finishing behind all 13 wet-tyre cars.
Whincup crossed the finish line 7.3804 seconds ahead of Kelly Racing’s Andre Heimgartner, who scored the best result of his career. Penrite Racing’s David Reynolds was third.
The championship now heads to Newcastle Street Circuit for the series finale on November 22-24.
Photos: Supercars, Red Bull Holden,