Sandown: Dodo Racing race report

Richards and Whincup take first V8 Supercar podium for Dodo Racing at Sandown Jason Richards and Jamie Whincup have toughed it out in difficult weather conditions in today's Sandown 500 in Melbourne to take Dodo Racing's first- ever V8 Supercar...

Richards and Whincup take first V8 Supercar podium for Dodo Racing at Sandown

Jason Richards and Jamie Whincup have toughed it out in difficult weather conditions in today's Sandown 500 in Melbourne to take Dodo Racing's first- ever V8 Supercar podium result.

The duo finished a brilliant third behind the Falcon of Craig Lowndes/Yvan Muller and the Commodore of Mark Skaife/Todd Kelly.

The result was the best-ever not only for the team, but also for each of the drivers, who endured changing weather conditions and a last minute rain shower while Richards drove on slick tyres to make it home to the chequered flag.

"This is an amazing feat for our team," said Richards.

"To be sitting on against teams like HRT and Triple 8 in such an early stage of our development campaign is great. We have been knocking on the door and finally it opened up for up today!

"The team have given us a great car all weekend and we made the right call in the middle of the race to hang out there on slick tyres while others pitted to wet weather tyres. That vaulted us up the order and we leapfrogged quite a few."

Whincup started the race in the #3 Dodo Commodore from 13th on the grid and bogged down at the start, dropping back to 18th before gradually clawing his way back up the order before pitting to hand over to Richards on lap 57 of 161.

The Kiwi drove through to the finish, his decision to run on slick tyres in the latter stages helping him pull a margin over fourth-placed Garth Tander.

A late rain shower allowed Tander to close as Richards tippy-toed through the final laps but the Tasman Motorsport-run machine had enough to hold on.

"It was very difficult to stay out of trouble in the early stages," said Whincup.

"I just had to keep my nose clean and bring it along, gradually taking places when the chances popped up.

"It was more nerve wracking in the final stages on the pit wall watching the rain showers go backwards and forwards across the track.

"Our engineers made the right calls today, which was very important."

The team's second car of Fabian Coulthard and Tony D'Alberto was ultimately a non-finisher after the former went off the circuit on the second last lap of the race.

Having completed 156 of the 161 laps, the duo had been on target to finish in the top 20 all day.

"I just went off at turn two on the second last lap," reported Coulthard.

"I'd flat-spotted the front right tyre earlier on and I thought I'd be able to nurse it home but it cried enough and I went off into the fence and out of the race."

D'Alberto started the race before Coulthard double-stinted. The HPDC V8 Supercar Series driver found the first stint relatively nerve-wracking but soon settled into a rhythm.

"There were a few who fell off the road in front of us and that helped but I was fairly nervous in that first stint," said D'Alberto.

"There was no break at all like you get in the series I usually race in. It's always close and there's always someone attacking you. But I kept it straight and that was the aim."

Coulthard at least had some more success in the Carrera Cup support events, winning one of the three races.

Dodo Racing head to Mount Panorama in four weeks time full of confidence for The Great Race - the Bathurst 1000 in October.

-dr-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Mark Skaife , Fabian Coulthard , Craig Lowndes , Jason Richards , Jamie Whincup , Todd Kelly , Tony D'Alberto