Sandown 500: Craig Lowndes and Warren Luff win spectacular fight

Craig Lowndes and Warren Luff took victory in a spectacular conclusion to V8 Supercars' first endurance race of the year at Sandown

Sandown 500: Craig Lowndes and Warren Luff win spectacular fight

Triple Eight crews Lowndes/Luff and Jamie Whincup/Paul Dumbrell monopolised the lead battle for much of the event, despite starting in seventh and 19th following Saturday's wild qualifying race.

Whincup was leading into the closing stages, but Lowndes - on fresher tyres - was catching him rapidly, as was Ford Performance Racing's Mark Winterbottom.

Lowndes grabbed the lead with 20 laps to go when Whincup slid over the grass.

The champion then had to focus on resisting Winterbottom, who muscled past the Holden two laps from the end of the 500-kilometre event, to Whincup's annoyance. Winterbottom and co-driver Steven Richards had also had to charge forward, having started only 16th.

Garth Tander and Nick Percat were Holden Racing Team's top finishers in fourth, with polesitters Shane van Gisbergen and Luke Youlden taking fifth in their Stone Brothers Ford.

The Dean Canto/David Reynolds FPR car was also a strong contender for victory until a slow final stop that left Reynolds having to battle back to sixth.

It was a disappointing car for the third FPR crew. Having started at the back, Will Davison tried to make up places with a very long first stint before handing over to partner John McIntyre, who lost ground in the middle of the race. They could only finish 17th.

Fast-starting Garry Rogers driver Greg Ritter produced a star cameo with a brief early lead challenge before spinning the Holden he shared with Michael Caruso.

Results - 161 laps:

Pos  Drivers                Team/Car                    Time/Gap
 1.  Lowndes/Luff           Triple 8 Holden        3h19m14.8927s
 2.  Winterbottom/Richards  FPR Ford                   + 1.6343s
 3.  Whincup/Dumbrell       Triple 8 Holden            + 4.6534s
 4.  Tander/Percat          HRT Holden                + 10.4647s
 5.  Van Gisbergen/Youlden  Stone Brothers Ford       + 13.7949s
 6.  Reynolds/Canto         Rod Nash/FPR Ford         + 18.6040s
 7.  Slade/Thompson         Rosenberg/SBR Ford        + 18.9586s
 8.  Holdsworth/Baird       Stone Brothers Ford       + 24.7206s
 9.  Courtney/McConville    HRT Holden                + 29.3175s
10.  Webb/McLaughlin        Tekno Holden              + 31.3135s
11.  Ingall/Klien           Walkinshaw/HRT Holden     + 31.8105s
12.  Kelly/Russell          Kelly Holden              + 37.7442s
13.  Bright/Jones           Brad Jones Holden         + 47.6531s
14.  Caruso/Ritter          Garry Rogers Holden       + 52.2985s
15.  Coulthard/Besnard      Brad Jones Holden         + 54.2196s
16.  Fiore/Halliday         Triple F/DJR Ford       + 1m02.0332s
17.  Davison/McIntyre       FPR Ford                + 1m06.4077s
18.  Kelly/Blanchard        Kelly Holden                 + 1 lap
19.  Premat/Perkins         Garry Rogers Holden          + 1 lap
20.  Reindler/Gaunt         Kelly Holden                 + 1 lap
21.  Johnson/Simonsen       Dick Johnson Ford            + 1 lap
22.  Wall/Pither            Britek/BJR Holden           + 2 laps
23.  D'Alberto/Wood         D'Alberto Ford              + 2 laps
24.  Douglas/Pye            Dumbrell Holden             + 2 laps
25.  Owen/Morris            Paul Morris/DJR Ford        + 2 laps
26.  Moffat/Davison         Dick Johnson Ford           + 3 laps
27.  Murphy/Kelly           Kelly Holden               + 29 laps

Retirements:

     Patrizi/Reid           Tekno Holden                 83 laps
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