The Penrite Sandown 500 endurance race returned to the Supercars calendar with a brilliant weekend of racing that went down to the wire.
In front of a massive Victorian crowd, Broc Feeney claimed an epic race win together with co-driver Jamie Whincup, following a grandstand finish to the event under the setting sun.
While the Safety Car was barely sighted for the majority of the race, a late intervention following a mechanical failure for Cameron Hill at turn nine turned the race on its head, with Red Bull Ampol Racing’s Feeney leading a bunched-up field for the final stage of the race.
Feeney would get the jump over current Championship leader Brodie Kostecki and his Coca-Cola Racing by Erebus teammate Will Brown on the Safety Car restart, and while Kostecki would do his best to hunt Feeney down in the final 30 minutes of the race, he was unable to edge the talented youngster in what was an impressive battle to the line.
“That was pressure, that was hard work to the end, but I’m so stoked to come away with the win,” Feeney said post-race.
“The pressure was on, but we turned this thing into a bit of a rocket and I can’t thank the team enough and this guy (Whincup).
“I knew Brodie was really fast, I knew if I could just hang on for those first few laps (after the Safety Car restart), hopefully he (Kostecki) would burn his tyres up.”
Whincup was understandably impressed with Feeney’s performance and thrilled to be back on the top step of the podium – the win notching up a record 250th race victory for Triple Eight Race Engineering.
“You treat every race like it’s the last,” Whincup said.
“Don’t underestimate the job (Feeney) did, he’s 20-years-old and there was a lot of pressure at the end. Clearly both cars are very, very good and 250 wins for Triple Eight, we couldn’t be happier.”
It was a strong day on track for the Red Bull Ampol Racing team, and in what was one of the standout drives of the day, Shane van Gibsergen and co-driver Richie Stanaway enjoyed a strong charge through the field, making up 16 positions to finish the race in third behind Kostecki. A poor qualifying performance on Saturday threatened to derail the reigning champion’s title defence, but the Kiwi pair were on song all day and van Gisbergen now sits 155 points behind Kostecki on the points table with just three rounds remaining.
Brown and co-driver Jack Perkins would end the race in fourth, a late off in the dying stages taking away their chance at a podium finish and handing van Gisbergen and Stanaway the final podium position.
In Saturday’s qualifying session, it was a front row lockout for the Erebus pair, with Brown and Perkins starting from pole ahead of Kostecki and co-driver David Russell following qualifying and the Armor All Top 10 Shootout.
See the full race results here.
Click here to read Stewards Summaries from Supercars, Super2 and Super3.
The crews will now take stock and prepare for the iconic Repco Bathurst 1000 on 5-8 October at Mount Panorama.