Thompson wins amid reverse grid chaos
Andrew Thompson has taken a major step towards his maiden Fujitsu V8 Supercars Series crown by winning a chaotic Race 2 at the Norton 360 Sandown Challenge.
Starting from fifth on the grid, the Triple Eight Race Engineering Commodore driver emerged second after a multi-car accident at Turn 2 before taking the lead from Tim Blanchard after the resulting Safety Car restart.
Blanchard kept Thompson honest for the remainder, with the gap between the pair standing at 1.9s by the chequered flag.
Paul Morris took third from Luke Youlden on the final lap having started 22nd, while Geoff Emery rounded out the top five despite a late-race spin while running third.
The first lap incident saw title contender David Russell skip across the infield at Turn 3 – spearing into the Wilson Security Racing Commodore of David Wall as he rejoined.
Wall’s spinning Commodore ensured a host of contenders were caught up in the carnage, with Scott McLaughlin’s Fujitsu Falcon sustaining heavy front and rear damage.
Yesterday’s top three finishers Jack Perkins, Chaz Mostert and Nick Percat – starting mid-pack thanks to the reverse top 10 format – all found themselves facing the wrong way by the time the incident ended.
Right-front suspension damage saw Percat join McLaughlin and Wall on the retirements list, while Mostert and Perkins set about fighting their way back through the field.
Mostert seemed set for a top 10 finish by Lap 12 when he was tagged into another spin by Nick Cassidy at Turn 3. The reigning Australian Formula Ford Champion would eventually finish 15th.
It was also a disappointing result for front-row starter Tony Bates, who spun into the inside fence at Turn 1 as Thompson took the lead from Blanchard.
Drew Russell was the last retirement having spun into the gravel at Turn 9 while running sixth on the final lap.
Race 3 will take place at 1330 local time.
See below for the full race result
|1||Triple Eight Race Engineering||Andrew Thompson||Holden Commodore VE||15||21:28.8306|
|2||Team Jayco||Tim Blanchard||Ford Falcon BF||15||21:30.7933|
|3||Sargent Security Racing||Paul Morris||Holden Commodore VE||15||21:35.2744|
|4||Simpro Software/Master Elect.||Luke Youlden||Ford Falcon BF||15||21:35.4887|
|5||AC Delco/Simworx/NDD||Geoff Emery||Holden Commodore VE||15||21:45.1423|
|6||Action Racing||Marcus Zukanovic||Holden Commodore VE||15||21:47.0911|
|7||Shannons-Linde Racing||Cameron Waters||Holden Commodore VE||15||21:48.6381|
|8||Bob Jane T-Marts||Rodney Jane||Ford Falcon FG||15||21:51.1944|
|9||Team Tom Supporters Club||Tom Tweedie||Ford Falcon BF||15||21:57.5971|
|10||Mad Croc Energy||Robert Cregan||Ford Falcon BF||15||21:57.7179|
|11||Bob Jane T Marts/Supercheap||Jack Perkins||Ford Falcon BF||15||22:00.2913|
|12||CEG Rentals/Go Karts Go||Aaren Russell||Ford Falcon BF||15||22:02.6487|
|13||Drill Pro Services/Fuchs/ACS||Nick Cassidy||Holden Commodore VE||15||22:04.4628|
|14||Fastaz Motorsport||Taz Douglas||Holden Commodore VZ||15||22:07.2152|
|15||Ford Performance Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG||15||22:10.7069|
|16||Team Jayco||David Russell||Ford Falcon BF||15||22:11.6079|
|17||Formula Tech/Interquip Racing||Brett Stewart||Holden Commodore VE||15||22:16.0958|
|18||R&J Batteries/EarthEx/KingGee||Daniel Jilesen||Holden Commodore VE||14||21:59.3803|
|19||SOLO Racing||Aaron McGill||Ford Falcon BF||13||21:31.6149|
|DNF||Carrington Equip/Go Karts Go||Drew Russell||Ford Falcon BF||14||20:32.0441|
|DNF||favourit.com / AFS||Tony Bates||Holden Commodore VE||5||9:21.3360|
|DNF||Fujitsu||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG|
|DNF||Wilson Security Racing||David Wall||Holden Commodore VE|
|DNF||Coates Hire Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore VE|