Driver’s Eye View: Sandown 500

A $3000 burnout, a false engagement, and an old dog that seems to have learnt new tricks – it’s Driver’s Eye View with V8 Supercars driver Tony D’Alberto.

Let’s start with Russell Ingall’s return to V8 Supercars. There were a few people who publicly mused whether or not he was the right choice to replace James Courtney at the Holden Racing Team, but his performance proved it was the right call to put him in the car.

You can’t forget that this guy has been sitting in the commentary box all year. Before Sandown, he hadn’t driven anything in anger since Homebush last year – in this sport, that long out of the car can be hard to come back from.

Given that he then only had one day of testing before Sandown kicked off, I think he did a mega job across the weekend. To finish his qualifying race in sixth was hugely impressive. I guess there is life in the old dog yet!

Frosty’s expensive burnout

I want to be clear on this; Mark Winterbottom being fined for doing a burnout on the main straight after winning the Sandown 500 is ridiculous.

At the end of the day, we’re in the entertainment business. And all Mark was doing was give the fans – who had paid their hard earned money to come through the gates and then sat in the stands all day to watch us race – what they wanted to see.

In my opinion, where he pulled over on the straight was absolutely safe enough, and it was the perfect spot to give the crowd a perfect look at the burnout.

V8 Supercars is crazy to discourage drivers from doing something that is spectacular, crowd-pleasing, and not at all dangerous.

Ambrose’s false start

Marcos Ambrose effectively missing the start of the race was a huge mistake – and to be honest, not one I’d expect him to make.

It’s normal that drivers knock the car out of gear while sitting on the grid waiting for the start. I don’t know exactly why Marcos didn’t re-engage first, but I’d assume he was distracted by something and just forgot to put the car back in gear.

For this exact reason, my preference is always to leave the car in gear. It’s a driver’s worst nightmare to be stranded on the line at the start of a race, and it can be hugely, hugely dangerous.

While he and Scott Pye did well to recover to 12th place at the finish, I think they could have potentially finished much higher without that mistake.

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About this article
Series Supercars
Event Sandown
Track Sandown
Article type Analysis