Whincup and Lowndes win Sandown as McLaughlin crowned champion

Monday 11 November, 2019
Photos: Mark Horsburgh/EDGE Photographics
Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes have secured the Pirtek Enduro Cup after winning their first Penrite Oil Sandown 500 together in more than 12 years, while Scott McLaughlin ended the round as champion elect.
 
Whincup and Lowndes went into the round trailing fellow Triple Eight Racing teammates Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander but finished as champions after van Gisbergen suffered heartbreak throughout the race.
 
The Kiwi and Tander executed the perfect strategy for the big race after starting in 24th, as Tander blitzed through co-driver field to make up 22 positions, handing the car over to van Gisbergen with only Whincup in front.
 
As Whincup went in for his final pit stop, van Gisbergen took the lead and began to build a comfortable gap, which stood at 10 seconds when he left his final pit stop for the weekend.
 

However with just 25 laps remaining, van Gisbergen’s car gave way on the right rear and forced the Holden to return to the pits for repairs.

 
"Obviously commiserations to #97 (van Gisbergen and Tander), they did a great job today, but at the same time we've been on the receiving end of that one as well many times," Whincup said.
 
"Big thanks to CL [Craig Lowndes], he's done an amazing job all season of endurance and great to be in victory lane."
 
Finishing behind Whincup and Lowndes were Tickford Racing’s Chaz Mostert and James Moffat, with the duo bouncing back after a horrid Enduro Cup season, which has seen them fail to score valuable points in both rounds.
 
Rounding out the podium was another feel-good story as Lee Holdsworth secured his first Supercars podium in more than 2000 days, with Dunlop Super2 driver Thomas Randle by his side.
 
It was a bittersweet weekend for McLaughlin as he and co-driver Alexandre Premat ended the event in ninth, having started in last place after DJR Team Penske received a penalty for an engine breach at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
 
By finishing the race, McLaughlin has now secured enough of a points gap to put the title beyond reach.
 

While McLaughlin secured his second successive title with a round remaining, the 26-year-old champion revealed celebrations would be saved until Newcastle.

 

“We'll celebrate, but we don't want to take anything away from Triple Eight and what they did today,” McLaughlin said.
 
 “We've got our time to celebrate in Newcastle, and bloody oath we will.
 
“I love that track, I love going there, we're always fast... if we could have a couple of race wins that'd be awesome, that's when we'll do our celebrating.”
 
The final round of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship takes place later this month with the Coates Hire Newcastle 500 on 22-24 November.
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