Whincup secures Sandown 500 pole

Jamie Whincup will start the Sandown 500 from pole position, after holding out Prodrive’s Mark Winterbottom and Chaz Mostert in a tense second qualifying race.

Whincup started from pole position thanks to his co-driver Paul Dumbrell’s earlier success, but despite leading all 20 laps it was hardly a straightforward victory.

The top five spent the entire race running nose-to-tail, with Whincup unable to pull away from the four-car train behind him, which consisted of Winterbottom, Mostert, Shane van Gisbergen, and David Reynolds.

What made things even tenser was the way the race finished, a one-lap sprint after a late Safety Car making for a frantic run for the flag.

But in the end, Whincup was able to soak up the pressure and bag pole for tomorrow’s first endurance race of the season.

"I was a bit of a road block in that race," said Whincup. "So there is still a bit of work to do. But it was great to maximise today."

Winterbotton and Mostert finished second and third, but it wasn’t without controversy. Having run nose-to-bumper all race, the team-mates had a coming together on the run to Turn 2 on the final lap of the race.

The contact sent Mostert flying across the grass, the youngster lucky to not lose third place to van Gisbergen.

That wasn’t the only team-mate action; on Lap 6, Nissan driver James Moffat sent boss Todd Kelly flying across the grass – as the pair battled over 22nd position.

The unluckiest driver in the race was without a doubt Jack Perkins. Having run P6 in the early stages of the race, Perkins was run off the track at Dandenong Road a few laps in.

Having dropped to the back of the field, he was then taken out by an out-of-control Andre Heimgartner, contact that left both cars out of the race.

Lowndes, meanwhile, will start 23rd after being given a drive-through for his bump-and-run on Perkins. To that point he had been running seventh, an excellent recovery after initially qualifying 16th this morning.

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About this article
Series Supercars
Event Sandown
Track Sandown
Article type Race report