TBE Sandown race report

The Betta Electrical Sandown conducted at the Sandown track today had all the drama that the weather could throw at it. At the beginning of the race the wind and the cold were the main factors the drivers were taking into account. Within...

The Betta Electrical Sandown conducted at the Sandown track today had all the drama that the weather could throw at it.

At the beginning of the race the wind and the cold were the main factors the drivers were taking into account. Within 2 hours the rain had been and gone on two occasions, only to be followed by hail at lap 115.

Team plans which had been carefully thought through, came unstuck for a variety of reasons and Team Managers had to be thinking on their feet throughout the whole race as their strategies needed to change with the changing conditions.

The race got underway about 1.00pm under cloudy skies. Radisich said just prior to the race beginning that he was "comfortable the day would unfold well for Team Betta Electrical whether it rained or not. " Radisich's race got off to a great start when he gained a place on turn 1 in lap 1. Tander in car 34 was black-flagged for a race incident with Ozemail car 21. He received a drive-through penalty for this indiscretion.

By lap 8 the race had settled into a rhythm with Ambrose leading by 8 seconds. Radisich remained in 4th place and Dean Canto driving Team Betta Electrical car 66 was in 14th place. This is actually where car 66 finished after seesawing many times during the race in a variety of positions during a great drive by both Dean Canto and Mathew White.

At lap 39 the heavens opened up and the rain started. This saw a flurry of activity in pit lane.

Car 66 had a tyre change but no driver change at this time. In lap 68 the pads were changed on car 65 and also a driver change. Rickard Rydell took over in Team Betta Electrical car 65. Similarly Mathew White took over at around the same time in Team Betta Electrical car 66 from Canto.

Around this time Ambros and Ingall also went for a driver change. This strategy did not go well for the Pirtek team with Ingall going off nearly as soon as he had got into the car. This was the first time the safety car was needed and it remained out for 2 laps.

Paul Radisich commented at this time that the track was "slippery, but not as dangerous as in the past. Conditions are still quite treacherous."

By lap 105 the skies were looking even more threatening, sending Team managers to rethink their strategies as far as driver changes.

Rain started again at lap 111 causing more chaos. There were only 5 drivers in the lead lap at this point in time, mixing it with many of the drivers who had been lapped.

All the pointers were there at this time for a repeat of the last time the 500 was run at Sandown in 1998, when the race was shortened by rain to 157 laps. At around lap 115, hail started to fall. This brought about very dangerous conditions. Unfortunately the conditions were so slippery, Dumbrell went off and hit the tyre wall which meant the trucks had to come out, firstly to take Dumbrell's car off and secondly to repair the tyre wall. Rick Kelly in the Kmart car also had problems at this stage with the rear wing coming lose through an incident in pit lane. At this stage they were down about a lap and a half from the leaders.

Rydell in car 65 was driving as though he had been in a V8 Supercar forever, by maintaining his place at 4th. Mathew White was consistent in maintaining his place under these trying conditions.

The safety car came out at lap 121 Radisich and Rydell changed places for Radisich to finish the race.

The race proper got underway again at lap 127 at about 4.25pm. This meant that with 20 minutes to go the race was not going to be able to run its full 161-lap distance.

By lap 131 'The Rat' had pushed his way through the field to get to 8th position. Times were in the vicinity of 1,28's, an indication of the slippery conditions, which prevailed.

At lap 140 the race was set for an exciting finish with Jason Richards in the Team Dynamik car 44 closing the gap between himself and the race leader Skaife in HRT car 1. Richards went to overtake Skaife several times and in a well-fought duel, unfortunately came off second best and ended his Sandown 500 in the sand just one lap from the finish.

This left Skaife clear to take out the race. He was closely followed by the Super Cheap car being driven by Luke Youlden in his first outing with the V8 Supercars. This single car team is to be congratulated on an impressive race. The K Mart Team came in third.

Team Betta Electrical finished the race with car 65 in 7th position, a terrific result for Radisich and Rydell and car 66 in 14th position, also a good result for Canto and White.

This certainly points to some exciting racing with Bathurst coming up soon.

-tbe-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Rick Kelly , Dean Canto , Paul Radisich , Luke Youlden