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Feeney/Whincup hold on for Sandown 500 win

Supercars
18 Sep
Feeney fends off Erebus duo after late Safety Car to win first enduro of Gen3 era
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  • Click here for Race 23 results

  • Feeney wins first Sandown 500, Whincup scores sixth victory in event

  • Feeney held off Kostecki after late restart, Brown error hands third to van Gisbergen

  • Waters, Mostert caught out by early-race incidents; Tander crashes out

Broc Feeney and Jamie Whincup have held on to win the Penrite Oil Sandown 500 after a late bp Ultimate Safety Car period energised the first endurance race of the Gen3 era.

The #88 Red Bull Ampol Camaro led 122 of 158 laps, with Whincup twice taking the lead from the #9 Coca-Cola Camaro of Will Brown and Jack Perkins before the driver changes.

A late Safety Car for the beached #35 Truck Assist Camaro of Cameron Hill bunched the field together, ensuring Feeney had to stave off both Erebus Chevrolets. Broc Feeney became the youngest Sandown 500 winner, and the youngest winner of a championship race at Sandown.

Repairs to the Turn 5 Armco barrier after a Dunlop Series crash meant the race start was delayed by 15 minutes, ensuring a time-certain finish that eventually led to just 158 of the scheduled 161 laps being completed.

Recap: Race 23 2023 Penrite Oil Sandown 500

Feeney, aged 20, clung on by 0.9816s to deliver the 250th Supercars victory for Triple Eight, which debuted at Sandown all the way back in 2003. It was Feeney’s first Sandown 500 win, and Whincup’s sixth.

“Today was awesome, there’s no other way to describe that feeling. It was pretty special to win today and under the circumstances at the end was very tough," Feeney said.

"All the guys in our team did a fantastic job, not only today but the entire weekend. I’m so stoked to be able to stand on the top step today.

"The circumstances at the end of the race with the Safety Car made it an exciting end to the race and an even better way to win the race.

"I tried to use the lap up to get a bit of a jump on the restart, and Brodie has been fast all weekend, but to hang on makes it even more special."

Series leader Brodie Kostecki (#99 Coca-Cola Camaro) raced to second with co-driver David Russell, with a late error by Brown handing third to Shane van Gisbergen and Richie Stanaway (#97 Red Bull Ampol Camaro).

Race start: Erebus leads as Whincup makes moves

It was a nightmare race for Ford stars Cam Waters, Chaz Mostert and David Reynolds, whose afternoons were undone by early-race damage incurred when their co-drivers were behind the wheel.

Reynolds didn’t get to turn a lap when Garth Tander crashed out after a wheel parted company with the #26 Penrite Mustang. The wheel hit Waters’ #6 Monster Energy Ford when James Moffat was behind the wheel, shearing the rear wing off the Tickford Racing entry.

Mostert’s #25 Mobil 1 Optus Ford also suffered early damage with Lee Holdsworth at the helm, before Mostert was penalised over a late clash with Declan Fraser/Tyler Everingham (#56 TRADIE Mustang).

Waters/Moffat were classified 20th and Mostert/Holdsworth 22nd, with Reynolds/Tander joining Hill/Jaylyn Robotham as the only retirements of the race.

Andre Heimgartner/Dale Wood (#8 R&J Batteries Camaro) made it a Camaro top five ahead of Matt Payne/Kevin Estre (#19 Penrite Mustang) and Shell V-Power Racing Team teammates Will Davison/Alex Davison (#17 Mustang) and Anton De Pasquale/Tony D’Alberto (#11 Mustang). Tim Slade/Jonathon Webb (#23 Nulon Camaro) and Craig Lowndes/Zane Goddard (#88 Supercheap Auto Camaro) rounded out the top 10.

Loose wheel sends Tander into the wall

Perkins led teammate Russell through Turn 1. Whincup began his charge, passing Moffat for third on lap 2 at Turn 1, before passing Russell for second at Turn 4 on the following lap. At Turn 1 on lap 5, Whincup passed Perkins for the lead.

Whincup’s lead over Perkins breached the one-second mark on lap 11, before the race was neutralised eight laps later when Tander crashed out from fourth through the Dandenong Road esses. Replays showed the left-rear wheel parting company with the #26 Penrite Ford, sending Tander into the Armco barrier, into the Turn 9 sand trap and out of the race.

The field came into the lane for their first stops, and it emerged that the #6 Monster Ford had lost its rear wing. Later replays showed the errant wheel striking the Mustang, shearing the wing off the car. Fellow Ford runner Holdsworth also picked up rear diffuser damage in a first-lap collision, with both cars returning to the lane twice under yellow for repairs.

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All the while, Russell was forced to stack behind Perkins, who assumed the lead after short-fuelling to get ahead of Whincup. Perkins led Whincup, Michael Caruso (#18 DEWALT Camaro), Estre and Tim Blanchard (#3 CoolDrive Mustang) to green, with Russell down in 10th.

A number of cars were delayed in the lane; notably, the Dean Fiore (#14 Middy’s Electrical Camaro) and D’Alberto entries were slapped with five-second penalties over a pit infringement and unsafe release respectively.

Moffat explains freak rear wing incident

Perkins pressed on, being hit with a warning over exceeding track limits, before Whincup reeled in the #9 Camaro and made a pass for the lead stick at Turn 1 on lap 41. Behind them, Caruso and Estre battled, the latter also making a move at Turn 1.

On lap 44, there was a scare for Lowndes, who was hit by Robotham as the two Camaros battled through Turn 5, with Stanaway and Jason Evans (#4 SCT Logistics Camaro) in close proximity. All the while, Russell continued his fightback, passing the likes of Davison, Everingham and Garry Jacobson (#55 Castrol Mustang).

It wasn’t as clean for Davison and Jacobson, with the latter picking up steering damage after contact at Turn 1. At the same corner, Moffat was sent into a spin by Dylan O’Keeffe (#31 Nulon Camaro).

Perkins kicked off the driver change cycle when he handed over to Brown on lap 55, with Caruso handing over to Mark Winterbottom, Blanchard to Todd Hazelwood, Webb to Slade and Alex Davison to Will Davison. Whincup handed over to Feeney on lap 55, with Estre ending his first effort in Supercars as he passed the reins of the #19 Ford to Payne.

With the cycle complete by lap 60, Feeney emerged with a 4.6s margin over Jayden Ojeda (#34 Truck Assist Camaro), who stopped on lap 45. Brown and Payne were 5.1 and 14.1s behind, with Kostecki up to fifth ahead of Winterbottom, Slade, Lowndes, Heimgartner and van Gisbergen.

Brown error hands final podium spot to van Gisbergen

Ojeda ran off at Turn 9 after being passed by Brown, and handed over to Le Brocq. All the while, the #18 DEWALT Camaro — with Winterbottom behind the wheel in fifth — was the first to be penalised to the tune of five seconds over exceeding track limits.

Kostecki reeled in Payne and passed the #19 Ford for third on lap 78. Behind them, van Gisbergen moved towards the front, pulling off overtakes on Slade, Heimgartner, Lowndes and Winterbottom by lap 86. By then, Feeney led Brown by 8.6s, with Kostecki 18.6s from the lead.

Brown stopped from second lap 87, with Winterbottom next in on lap 89. Feeney, Kostecki and Lowndes stopped on lap 90, with the Payne Ford undergoing a brake change on lap 92. Van Gisbergen pressed on and stopped on lap 97, handing the lead back to Feeney, who enjoyed a 13.1s margin over Brown. Van Gisbergen emerged in front of a racy Payne, with Heimgartner trailing the #19 Mustang.

As Feeney soldiered on towards the final stops, Kostecki reeled in teammate Brown, with van Gisbergen a distant fourth. On lap 119, in the shadow of double stacking, Brown moved aside for Kostecki, with van Gisbergen 8.9s behind.

Seven laps later, Kostecki pitted for the final time, with Brown stopping on the following lap. The top four maintained status quo after van Gisbergen and Feeney stopped on laps 129 and 130 respectively. As the field cleansed, Feeney led Kostecki by 8.5s, with Brown and van Gisbergen 10.5s and 15.6s back respectively.

Feeney celebrates record-breaking Sandown win

Behind them, Heimgartner jumped Payne in the stops to fifth, with Davison, De Pasquale, Slade and Goddard rounding out the top 10.

As Kostecki ate into Feeney’s lead, the race turned on its head on lap 140 as Hill ran off into the Turn 9 sand trap. Hill suffered a reported steering failure in the #35 Truck Assist Camaro, triggering the second bp Ultimate Safety Car period of the day. Feeney led the field to green on lap 144, with Kostecki hounding the #88 Camaro.

Kostecki had a look at Turn 4 on lap 148, inviting Brown into the battle. Behind them, Fraser was turned by Mostert at Turn 4 on the following lap, with the former’s Tickford teammate Courtney delayed. Mostert was handed a 15-second penalty over the clash.

Feeney set his fastest lap of the race on lap 152, a 1:10.3432s, and raced away to his fifth victory of the season. Behind him, Brown lost the rear of his car through the esses on lap 154, handing third to van Gisbergen on a platter.

Kostecki will carry an extended 155-point lead over van Gisbergen to Bathurst, with Feeney 204 points down. Brown is now 294 points behind his teammate, with Triple Eight slashing Erebus' teams' championship lead to 95 points.

The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will continue at with the 60th anniversary running of the Repco Bathurst 1000 on October 5-8.

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