Day 2 of the Sandown 500 promised to be an exciting day and after 4 on-track sessions, the Supercars definitely didn’t disappoint.
The day saw a number of controversial moments throughout the day and was highlighted by the massive crash in the first Qualifying race.
The qualifying system for the Sandown 500 is confusing for those who haven’t seen it before but when broken down is quite simple.
On Saturday morning, the main game drivers take part in a 20-minute qualifying which sets the grid for the first Race to the Grid event in the middle of the afternoon.
The first Race to the Grid event is a 20-lap sprint race for the co drivers to set up another grid for the evening race for the main drivers.
Finally, Race to the Grid 2 pits all the main game drivers against each other in another 20-lap sprint with the final result setting the grid for the Sandown 500 on Sunday.
The second day of the weekend started with another practice session, this time in the dry and for the regular drivers which went through mostly uneventfully.
Michael Caruso ended the session fastest in the #23 Nissan Altima with Scott McLaughlin and Rick Kelly rounding out the top 3.
Practice was not without controversy however as in the final 2 minutes, Shane Van Gisbergen spun Fabian Coulthard at the final corner, ruining the Ford driver’s final lap.
The stewards decided not to apply any penalties for the incident.
The first of a three-part qualifying saw the Erebus Holden Commodore of David Reynolds taking the top spot in a rain affected session.
Scott McLaughlin was unable to keep up his hot streak in qualifying as he could only manage P2 after a slight rain shower effectively ended the session 2 minutes early.
Shane Van Gisbergen continued his horror start to the weekend as he could only manage P16 after a late spin on the final dry lap of the session.
The Kiwi needs a strong weekend to close the gap in the championship and with 300 points on offer on Sunday, the reigning champion needed a good qualifying session.
Race for the Grid 1
The first ‘race’ of the weekend saw all the co drivers battle it out for the grid for race 2 and get the main drivers the best possible chance of starting near the front.
Luke Youlden got away well in the Erebus Commodore leading Frenchman Alex Premat and Kiwi Richie Stanaway.
Van Gisbergen’s co driver Matt Campbell found himself in a difficult situation after being spun on lap 1 and playing catch up throughout the short race.
Paul Dumbrell in car #88 was in the wars in the first few laps however managed to finish the race in P5 despite going off the circuit a number of times early on.
On Lap 19 the talking point of the race occurred when Tekno driver Jonathon Webb hit Todd Hazelwood at the end of the back straight at over 265km/h.
Hazelwood was sent into the barriers before rolling the cooldrive Commodore in a scary accident but fortunately walked away unscathed.
The race ended on countback with Youlden taking the win followed by Premat and Stanaway for the second race.
Race for the Grid 2
Race 2 at Sandown and the final qualifying session of the weekend was less eventful than the first however more was at stake than before.
Jason Bright wasn’t able to start the race as his Mega Fuels PRA Falcon stalled on the grid with a starter motor problem.
David Reynolds was jumped off the line by both Cam Waters in the Monster Energy PRA Falcon and McLaughlin with the former taking the lead from 3rd on the grid.
Van Gisbergen tried to make up some places at the start but ran wide and fell to the back when he slid off trying a bold move round the outside of 5 cars.
Craig Lowndes had to retire his Triple 8 Commodore with a steering rack issue and confirming him to be at the back with Bright and Van Gisbergen.
Cam Waters was able to hold off the threat from behind to secure pole for the race on Sunday with McLaughlin, Reynolds, Whincup and Fabian Coulthard rounding out the top 5.
Join us tomorrow for the race report for the first Pirtek Enduro Cup, the Sandown 500.
Article by Adam Ashmore (@GeorgeAshmore_)