A roller coaster Sandown 500 weekend came to an end on Sunday with the opening Enduro race of the season leaving plenty of room for improvement ahead of Bathurst.
Feeling confident after a great warm up session, both co-drivers took to the wheel for the start of the 500km, 161 lap race.
Paul Dumbrell secured the lead early on in the #1 Holden Commodore, while Steven Richards climbed up from P23 to P19 in the early stages in car #888.
A driver change on lap 55 saw Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes take over from their counterparts.
With JDub and PD leading for 83 laps, a difficult pit stop and an unexpected puncture pushed car #1 to the back of the pack.
A safety car with 30 laps remaining saw Jamie in P14 and Craig in P13. Lowndsey kept pace, but the competition was tough. JDub made as much ground as he could to recover. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough.
Lowndsey crossed the line securing P13 while Jamie had to settle with P15.
With Sandown behind us, Red Bull Racing Australia will re-group and focus on delivering results at the mighty theatre of dreams – Mount Panorama.
What they said:
WHINCUP / DUMBRELL
Championship: 8th (1586 points)
“It was a big stint, 100 laps around this joint, so I’m pretty wrecked. We can be proud of everyone, it’s been an unbelievably tough month. Today just demonstrates what a cruel game we play…to not get the reward for what we deserved. We put on a good show toward the end and we were just trying to represent the team and our partners on the side of the car as best we could. They deserved more than that today, but all I can say is we gave it everything and we’ll come back stronger next time.
“We started the day well and we were thereabouts at the front. We didn’t have the quickest car, but it was very strong and I think the cooling conditions at the end of the race would have suited us. Unfortunately there was the scenario with the puncture and it’s just what happens with motorsport it’s tough. We’ve had a really good run here for the last couple of years now there’s more focus to get it right at Bathurst.”
LOWNDES / RICHARDS
Championship: 4th (1792)
“Where we started it was always going to be an uphill battle, but the guys called some great strategies. To be out of sync for most of the race and then to put us back in right at the end was a stroke of genius from Shippy (Grant Mcpherson). It got us out of the pack when we were struggling with traffic and on our own we had good pace. For us today was a good outcome. The late safety car helped us bridge the gap in time, but unfortunately I didn’t have the pace to pass the Ford. It’s still a great result to finish 13th from where we started. Credit to Richo (Steven Richards) he did a great job to stay out of trouble and now we move onto Bathurst.”
“It was very tough today. I couldn’t see the lights at the start of the race because the repeater half-way down the grid wasn’t working so the start was terrible. From there we were effectively last on the first lap and battled away. It was difficult to pass because of the amount of tyre degradation. From there we just plugged away to keep it straight so that Craig could get in and see how far he could press on.”