The Sandown 500 once again delivered an excellent race filled with controversy and drama with a new winner for the series.
23 of the 25 starters began the race with co drivers but Red Bull’s decision to start Shane Van Gisbergen paid off for them after gaining a whole load of spots on the first lap against the co drivers.
Once again this season the tyres were a massive talking point with both Red Bull’s and David Reynolds’ Erebus Commodore all being hindered with a late stint puncture.
Controversial stewarding decisions as well as bravery on track created a thrilling race from start to finish.
Race 19 of the championship began with an action packed opening lap which ultimately postponed the race for almost an hour.
Taz Douglas in the #3 Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport Holden Commodore hit the tyre barrier at turn 6 ending his race on the spot and dislodging the barrier.
An hour-long break followed as the marshals repaired the tyre wall at the fastest part of the circuit and this unfortunately meant that the race was shortened from 161 to 125 laps.
Once the race got going again, Richie Stanaway in the #6 Monster Energy Ford Falcon lead Alex Premat and Paul Dumbrell through the first stint.
The former GP2 race winner held the lead through to the end of the first stint when Dumbrell managed to jump him in the pits.
Shane Van Gisbergen got ahead of Alex Premat on the track at the final corner before coming in for a driver change and pushing the #97 back behind the Frenchman.
Steve Owen in the #55 Supercheap Auto Ford Falcon received a 5 second penalty for pushing Luke Youlden wide at turn 9.
Half way through the final stint for the co-drivers, Paul Dumbrell had a right rear tyre failure down the back straight costing the #88 and Jamie Whincup any chance of victory.
This promoted Richie Stanaway back into the lead with Premat up to second and Matt Campbell in the #97 car up to 3rd.
After being spun on the first lap, Dean Canto in the #5 PRA Falcon, was fighting with Luke Youlden for 5th but on a number of occasions got caught up in the Erebus drivers issues.
On laps 54 – 57, most of the co-drivers had completed their allocated laps and this allowed the primary drivers back in the cars.
The exceptions were Matt Campbell who was only half way through his stint and Ash Walsh who ran longer than anyone else in the Freightliner Commodore.
Waters managed to maintain his lead over the #17 of McLaughlin throughout the next two stints and was able to close out a first ever win in the Supercars Championship.
Shane Van Gisbergen suffered a puncture late in his stint costing him valuable championship points, sending him back to 16th place.
Jamie Whincup was able to recover to 6th after his cars early race issues.
Chaz Mostert managed to drag his #55 Falcon back to the podium after a difficult start and completing a Ford podium lock out at Sandown.
Article by Adam Ashmore (@GeorgeAshmore_)