Murray wins chaotic Sandown finale

Dunlop Series
17 Sep
Three Safety Cars in Dunlop Series thriller as Best, Love taken out
3 mins by James Pavey

Cooper Murray has emerged the victor in an incident-packed Dunlop Series finale at Sandown, with Zak Best and Aaron Love both taken out in separate incidents.

Eggleston Motorsport driver Murray, who won the first race of the season, held on in a one-lap dash and was trailed home by pole-sitter Brad Vaughan, with Ryan Wood passing Kai Allen for third.

Walkinshaw Andretti United driver Wood, who won Saturday’s race, took out the round ahead of Murray and Allen.

Highlights: Race 2 2023 Dunlop Series Sandown

Series leader Best came home 13th after being spun out by Zane Morse, with Allen slashing the lead at the top from 84 to 33 points.

Where Saturday’s race ran green for its entirety with 31 laps logged, Sunday’s affair descended into chaos, with 21 laps completed and three Safety Cars called.

The first was deployed on the opening lap, when a collision between Cameron Crick and Matt Chahda exiting Turn 4 saw James Masterton sent into the wall.

Big hit for Masterton in lap 1 melee

After the first restart, Best was wiped out by Morse at Turn 9, with the latter triggering a second full-course yellow when he pulled over at Turn 6.

Later, Love was sent into a high-speed spin at Turn 5 after side-to-side contact with Wood and Vaughan, with Murray emerging from fifth in the lead.

Love, starting second, rounded up Vaughan into Turn 1, with Wood and Best slotting in behind. However, the race quickly fell under the control of the Safety Car as Chahda rotated, and Masterton crashed.

Contact between Chahda and Crick, who was forced out of the race, saw Masterton clipped and sent into the wall, with the #219 Mustang picking up heavy damage.

Morse sends Best into a spin at Turn 9

Wood pounced on Vaughan on the restart and set off after Love, who as eyeing his first Dunlop Series win. On the sixth lap, Best was drilled by Morse, with the points leader plummeting to 21st.

Morse, meanwhile, suffered damage but opted against coming into pit lane, before pulling over at Turn 6 and triggering another Safety Car. Officials notified that the incident would be investigated after the race.

Murray passed Bates into Turn 1 on the second restart, with Wood hounding Love. The WAU Commodore hit the BRT Ford at the final complex of corners, and a redress invited Vaughan and Allen to attack.

Wood emerged as the leader through Turn 1, but an error at Turn 2 helped Love back into position. A bottleneck ensued between Love, Vaughan and Wood, and the former was spun in front of the field.

Love hit the outside Armco barrier and was out on the spot. Vaughan and Wood were delayed, with Murray sailing through into the lead, which he retained after a one-lap dash to the chequered flag.

Frightening high speed crash for Love

No further action was taken on the crash, but it did little to help Love, who was consigned to his second DNF in three starts.

Wood cleared Allen for third on the final tour at Turn 2 and held on; behind them, Lochie Dalton and Nash Morris collided, with the BJR Commodore sent into a spin. No penalty was awarded over the incident.

WAU teen Wood won the round on 279 points, with Murray and Allen making it an Eggleston two-three result. Bates came home fifth ahead of Jordyn Sinnni, Jay Hanson, Jack Perkins, Morris and debutant Aaron Cameron.

Jobe Stewart was 11th overall and first in Super3, with Jett Johnson 14th behind Aaron Seton and Best.

The Dunlop Series will resume at the Repco Bathurst 1000 on October 5-8.

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