Saturday, Nov 9 04:59pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Lowndes wins wild co-driver race but Brown is the standout

Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes have taken first blood in the Penrite Oil Sandown 500 in a wet and wild co-driver race.

Race 28 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship gave the 25-car field just 20 laps to set the grid for Race 29, solely for the primary drivers.

Lowndes aced his start while pole-sitter Alex Premat lit up his tyres and went nowhere. Garth Tander was another quick starter in the other Red Bull racer to easily slot into second place.

Fullwood was quick away too, but he got sandwiched up against the inside Armco barrier on the run-up to Turn 1. Stuck on the dirty side of the road, Fullwood slid his way through the first turn and battled to stop his car as he clobbered the kerb. Will Brown blew by as well to steal fourth.

Fullwood fought to get his car under control and balked Kelly Racing teammate Dean Fiore on the run to Turn 2. Both drivers kept their respective positions, now fifth and sixth respectively.

At the end of a relatively incident-free Lap 1, it was Lowndes who led Tander, Premat, Brown, Fullwood, Fiore, James Moffat, Luke Youlden, Alex Davison and Thomas Randle.

The threat of rain eventuated on Lap 5 and the wipers began working. The cars largely kept their distance from the corner exit kerbs, but that rain ensured there was drama to come.

After his awkward start, Fullwood found his way past Brown down at Turn 1 on Lap 6, but their dice allowed the top three to get away.

Having started the race in fifth, Fiore fell down the order to 12th as the conditions deteriorated. He was the biggest loser at halfway distance. Meanwhile, young gun Randle was up four places to be seventh come Lap 10.

The rain got heavier at halfway, but the circuit was half wet towards Turn 1 and half damp down at Dandenong Road. Brown was the first to fall victim at Turn 2 then Fiore and then Muscat.

Come Lap 11, third-placed Premat made a mistake and allowed both Fullwood and Brown to get by. The drama continued as Fullwood went wide at Turn 1 and lost a spot to Brown. Seconds later Fullwood did a 360-degree spin in front of Premat and recovered without losing a spot, albeit, a lot of ground.

Premat fell into the clutches of the Tickford Racing duo Moffat and Randle. In a lap, he’d gone from being in podium contention to holding on for dear life on the fringe of the top five.

The Frenchman continued to hemorrhage time. Lap 14 saw Moffat and Randle get through, but he got a reprieve when the teammates collided. Moffat spun through the grass out of Turn 1 and returned to the road at Turn 2. He carried on, but the car suddenly veered hard right into the Armco barrier with broken steering. He duly retired and gave teammate Chaz Mostert a hard task for his race.

Meanwhile, at the front, Brown began to hustle. He put the pressure on the veteran Tander. A dive at Turn 1 on Lap 16 paid off and the kid from Toowoomba was through to second.

There was no catching Craig Lowndes though, who cruised home for a comfortable win. Brown was second and Tander third. Fullwood recovered to fourth while Randle was impressive in fifth. Premat, Youlden, Michael Caruso, Richard Muscat and Alex Davison rounded out the top 10.

Race 29 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship takes place at 7:20 pm NZST.


Penrite Oil Sandown 500, Race 28


Pos   No.   Driver/Co-driver Laps   Diff Int
1 888 Australia Jamie Whincup
Australia Craig Lowndes
2 99 Australia Anton De Pasquale
Australia Will Brown
20 +2.594 +2.594
3 97 New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen
Australia Garth Tander
20 +3.592 +0.998
4 7 New Zealand Andre Heimgartner
Australia Bryce Fullwood
20 +5.614 +2.022
5 5 Australia Lee Holdsworth
Australia Thomas Randle
20 +7.409 +1.795
6 17 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin
France Alexandre Prémat
20 +11.753   +4.343
7 9 Australia David Reynolds
Australia Luke Youlden
20 +14.373 +2.620
8 6 Australia Cameron Waters
Australia Michael Caruso
20 +14.938 +0.565
9 34 Australia James Golding
Australia Richard Muscat
20 +19.275 +4.337
10 23 Australia Will Davison
Australia Alex Davison
20 +19.461 +0.186
11 2 Australia Scott Pye
Australia Warren Luff
20 +20.025 +0.563
12 18 Australia Mark Winterbottom
New Zealand Steven Richards
20 +23.013 +2.988
13 12 New Zealand Fabian Coulthard
Australia Tony D'Alberto
20 +23.136 +0.123
14 15 Australia Rick Kelly
Australia Dale Wood
20 +23.623 +0.486
15 3 Australia Garry Jacobson
Australia Dean Fiore
20 +24.056 +0.433
16 8 Australia Nick Percat
Australia Tim Blanchard
20 +25.682 +1.625
17 33 New Zealand Richie Stanaway
New Zealand Chris Pither
20 +26.040 +0.358
18 22 Australia James Courtney
Australia Jack Perkins
20 +27.041 +1.000
19 78 Switzerland Simona de Silvestro
Australia Alex Rullo
20 +34.767 +7.726
20 19 Australia Jack Le Brocq
Australia Jonathon Webb
20 +35.207 +0.439
21 56 Australia Brodie Kostecki
Australia Jake Kostecki
20 +35.830 +0.623
22 21 Australia Macauley Jones
Australia Dean Canto
20 +36.366 +0.536
23 14 Australia Tim Slade
Australia Ash Walsh
20 +45.710 +9.344
24 35 Australia Todd Hazelwood
Australia Jack Smith
20 +56.314 +10.603
DNF 55 Australia Chaz Mostert
Australia James Moffat
13 +7 Laps +7 Laps


Photo: VUE Images / Red Bull Content Pool