Lowndes and Luff take Sandown 500 victory

Sunday 16th September, 2012 - 4:55pm

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Craig Lowndes and Warren Luff have won the Sandown 500

Craig Lowndes and Warren Luff have won the Sandown 500

Craig Lowndes and Warren Luff have combined to take victory in a fast-paced Dick Smith Sandown 500 in Melbourne.

Two strong opening stints from co-driver Warren Luff allowed Lowndes to join the race second to team-mate Jamie Whincup as the halfway mark approached.

Although Lowndes emerged from the third and final pitstops in excess of four seconds behind the leader, Lowndes stalked the #1 entry until Whincup made a mistake at Turn 2 with little over 20 laps remaining – allowing the lead change to take place.

Whincup eventually finished third after Mark Winterbottom took second from his grasp with just two laps from home in a move that saw the pair make door-to-door contact at Turn 9.

Whincup now enjoys a marginally reduced 32 point lead over Winterbottom in the championship standings, while Lowndes has overtaken Davison for third, a further 87 points adrift.

The Garth Tander/Nick Percat Holden held off the advances of the Shane van Gisbergen/Luke Youlden Ford to take fourth, while David Reynolds/Dean Canto, Tim Slade/Andrew Thompson, Lee Holdsworth/Craig Baird, James Courtney/Cameron McConville and Jonathon Webb/Scott McLaughlin rounded out the top 10.

The Reynolds/Canto combination had been right in the lead battle until a slow brake pad change dropped the car from third to ninth at the final stops.

Championship contender Will Davison finished a lowly 17th after a difficult race from the back of the field. The Trading Post FPR squad elected to buck the trend by starting its primary driver – a strategy that was hurt by the appearance of the Safety Car early in co-driver John McIntyre’s second stint.

The Safety Car appeared just twice during the 161 lap journey. The full-course yellows were required six circuits in when Allan Simonsen caused a chain reaction that spun Tony D’Alberto into the Turn 9 gravel.

Taz Douglas knocked Steve Owen into the same gravel trap 75 laps later, triggering the second break in a race that would take the 2006 event’s record as the fastest Sandown 500 of all time.

Turn 9 was also the scene of an early spin from Greg Ritter that proved costly for the eventual 14th placed #34 Fujitsu Holden. Ritter led the opening eight corners of the race thanks to a fast start from fourth on the grid, but lost the place to Youlden before the end of the lap. The real disaster struck 14 laps later when the first of two spins dropped the car to the rear of the field.

Youlden led the first 30 laps before losing several places in the first pistop cycle, allowing Canto to take over the front-running.

The main focus during the two ‘co-driver’ stints however was on the charging Dumbrell, Luff and Richards, who all ended their double-stints in the top four despite starting just 19th, sixth and 15th respectively.

Meanwhile, a strong run for Alex Davison in James Moffat’s Norton Ford was thrown off course in the first stint when the team lost three laps clearing debris from the car’s throttle. A broken rear sway bar link would further hamper the duo’s efforts.

Greg Murphy and Owen Kelly also had a frustrating day as pre-race engine problems continued. The pair eventually finished 29 laps down in 27th place.

The Michael Patrizi/Jonny Reid Holden was the race’s only retirement. The West Australian was left to watch in disgust as a slow-to-restart Reid was punched into the Turn 12 exit wall by Bright as the mid-race Safety Car peeled away, causing significant damage to the Tekno Autosports entry.

The 2012 V8 Supercars Championship continues in early October with the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

See below for the race result

1 C.Lowndes/W.Luff Holden Commodore VE2 161 03:19:14.8927
2 M.Winterbottom/S.Richards Ford Falcon FG 161 03:19:16.5270
3 J.Whincup/P.Dumbrell Holden Commodore VE2 161 03:19:19.5461
4 G.Tander/N.Percat Holden Commodore VE2 161 03:19:25.3574
5 S.Van Gisbergen/L.Youlden Ford Falcon FG 161 03:19:28.6876
6 D.Reynolds/D.Canto Ford Falcon FG 161 03:19:33.4967
7 T.Slade/A.Thompson Ford Falcon FG 161 03:19:33.8513
8 L.Holdsworth/C.Baird Ford Falcon FG 161 03:19:39.6133
9 J.Courtney/C.McConville Holden Commodore VE2 161 03:19:44.2102
10 J.Webb/S.McLaughlin Holden Commodore VE2 161 03:19:46.2062
11 R.Ingall/C.Klien Holden Commodore VE2 161 03:19:46.7032
12 R.Kelly/D.Russell Holden Commodore VE2 161 03:19:52.6369
13 J.Bright/A.Jones Holden Commodore VE2 161 03:20:02.5458
14 M.Caruso/G.Ritter Holden Commodore VE2 161 03:20:07.1912
15 F.Coulthard/D.Besnard Holden Commodore VE2 161 03:20:09.1123
16 D.Fiore/M.Halliday Ford Falcon FG 161 03:20:16.9259
17 W.Davison/J.McIntyre Ford Falcon FG 161 03:20:21.3004
18 T.Kelly/T.Blanchard Holden Commodore VE2 160 03:19:15.9592
19 A.Premat/J.Perkins Holden Commodore VE2 160 03:19:21.6195
20 K.Reindler/D.Gaunt Holden Commodore VE2 160 03:19:38.6351
21 S.Johnson/A.Simonsen Ford Falcon FG 160 03:20:09.6069
22 D.Wall/C.Pither Holden Commodore VE2 159 03:19:30.1408
23 T.D’Alberto/D.Wood Ford Falcon FG 159 03:19:36.3726
24 T.Douglas/S.Pye Holden Commodore VE2 159 03:19:58.8309
25 S.Owen/P.Morris Ford Falcon FG 159 03:20:27.0158
26 J.Moffat/A.Davison Ford Falcon FG 158 03:19:57.2327
27 G.Murphy/O.Kelly Holden Commodore VE2 132 03:19:43.7689
DNF M.Patrizi/J.Reid Holden Commodore VE2  83 01:45:18.1928

See below for the updated points standings

1 Jamie Whincup 2472
2 Mark Winterbottom 2440
3 Craig Lowndes 2353
4 Will Davison 2236
5 Shane Van Gisbergen 1882
6 Garth Tander 1764
7 Tim Slade 1662
8 Fabian Coulthard 1541
9 Lee Holdsworth 1449
10 David Reynolds 1404
11 James Courtney 1335
12 Michael Caruso 1295
13 Jason Bright 1285
14 Russell Ingall 1280
15 Rick Kelly 1206
16 Todd Kelly 1161
17 Steven Johnson 1125
18 Jonathon Webb 1110
19 Steve Owen 1022
20 Michael Patrizi 1000
21 Dean Fiore  967
22 Tony D’Alberto  917
23 James Moffat  736
24 Karl Reindler  734
25 Taz Douglas  732
26 David Wall  703
27 Alexandre Premat  668
28 Greg Murphy  370
29 Warren Luff  269
30 Luke Youlden  248
31 Nick Percat  237
32 Paul Dumbrell  234
33 Dean Canto  225
34 Steven Richards  203
35 Andrew Thompson  198
36 David Russell  191
37 Cameron McConville  166
38 Scott McLaughlin  164
39 Craig Baird  163
40 Greg Ritter  149
41 Andrew Jones  136
42 John McIntyre  120
43 Matthew Halliday  110
44 David Besnard  109
45 Tim Blanchard  104
46 Jack Perkins   91
47 Dale Wood   88
48 Alex Davison   86
49 Chris Pither   84
50 Daniel Gaunt   81
51 Scott Pye   64
52 Paul Morris   61
53 Owen Kelly   55
54 Jonny Reid    0

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