Sandown 500: McLaughlin seals Supercars title, Whincup/Lowndes win

Scott McLaughlin sealed the 2019 Supercars championship, as Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes won the Sandown 500 in dramatic circumstances

Sandown 500: McLaughlin seals Supercars title, Whincup/Lowndes win

McLaughlin and co-driver Alex Premat only needed to finish the race for the Kiwi to claim the 2019 title, but a layer of complication was added to that task when their DJR Team Penske Ford was put to the back of the grid as a penalty for the Bathurst 1000 engine controversy.

It wasn't exactly a straightforward race for the pair, their afternoon including a 15-second penalty for a pitlane infringement, but ninth place was enough to secure McLaughlin his second consecutive crown.

In the race itself, Triple Eight Holden pair Whincup and Lowndes prevailed thanks to late drama for their team-mates Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander.

Van Gisbergen and Tander had been set to complete a remarkable comeback from 24th on the grid, a fine opening pair of stints from Tander setting up a sure victory.

But a broken damper with 10 laps required a heartbreaking two-lap stint in the pits, opening the door for Whincup and Lowndes to snatch the win.

It was a fifth Sandown 500 win for Whincup and a sixth for Lowndes, with the pair now on 117 and 110 career victories respectively.

Lowndes faced little trouble over the first stint of the race, the veteran quickly settling into a comfortable lead over fellow front-row starter Bryce Fullwood's Nissan.

Behind the top two there were some unusual names right in early contention, Jake Kostecki creating a stir with a forceful pass on Erebus' Luke Youlden for third place at Turn 9 on the third lap.

The wildcard car's stint in third was brief, with Tickford driver Thomas Randle passing the family-run Kostecki entry into Turn 1 several laps later.

At the other end of the field Tander made a brilliant start from the back row, working his way into 13th by lap 10 and into the top 10 by lap 20.

As he ran deeper into the first stint than most, a lap 32 shunt between Youlden and Dale Wood was perfectly timed for Tander. The subsequent safety car opened the door for him to dive into the pitlane and emerge in fifth place.

Tander continued his charge when the race went green on lap 36 of the 161-lap distance, swiftly clearing the likes of Fullwood and Randle to end up running second - a little over 5s behind team-mate Lowndes.

The gap got as low as 2s before Lowndes pitted on lap 56 to hand over to Whincup, with Tander continuing as the race leader for another 16 laps before making his second stop.

At that point van Gisbergen took over the #97, resuming a little over 20s behind his team-mate.

The Kiwi was able to close back to around 13s over that third stint, the deficit more like 10s after the Triple Eight cars made their next round of stops on laps 94 (Whincup) and 106 (van Gisbergen).

It only got closer from there, van Gisbergen closing to within a second as the laps ticked down to the final round of stops.

With 27 laps to go, van Gisbergen was right on Whincup's gearbox - the lead changing hands a couple of corners before the #888 dived into the pitlane.

Van Gisbergen stayed out for three more laps before making his final stop, emerging with a comfortable 8s lead.

From there the comeback looked complete, van Gisbergen only needing to cruise to the chequered flag. But the broken right-rear damper put paid to that, the Kiwi forced to pit for lengthy repairs with just 10 laps to go.

That handed victory to the #888, Whincup and Lowndes sealing the Enduro Cup title in the process.

"Obviously commiserations to #97, 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," said Whincup.

"Big thanks to [Lowndes], he's done an amazing job all season of endurance. It's great to be in victory lane."

Chaz Mostert and James Moffat worked their way up to second place, albeit 20s down the road from the winners. The result was a fitting one, helping Moffat celebrate his father Allan's 80th birthday.

There were two Tickford Mustangs on the podium thanks to van Gisbergen's late drama, Lee Holdsworth and Randle finishing third - ending a 2045-day podium drought for Holdsworth.

Fabian Coulthard/Tony D'Alberto finished fourth, ahead of Scott Pye/Warren Luff and Will and Alex Davison.

James Courtney/Jack Perkins made it two Walkinshaw Holdens in the top 10 with seventh, while Andre Heimgartner and Fullwood slipped back to eighth - their race including a 15s penalty for speeding in the pitlane.

The McLaughlin/Premat car, meanwhile, never looked in the running for a top result.

Left at the back of the grid as part of the Bathurst engine breach repercussions, Premat was unable to follow Tander through the field in the first stint.

The Frenchman never climbed higher than the mid-teens, before the car was hit with a 15s time penalty when it was dropped with the fuel hose still attached during the first stop.

That meant McLaughlin started his stint down in 20th, slowing working his way up to ninth to wrap up the 2019 title.

The wildcard entry from Jake and Brodie Kostecki that had starred early on finished down in 16th after an action-packed afternoon.

From that fast start to the race there were a number of run-ins, including Jake helping Michael Caruso into the Turn 4 wall.

Caruso's co-driver Cam Waters responded by calling the pair "dumb" on TV, with Brodie letting his middle finger do the talking while lapping the wounded Tickford Mustang later in the race.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 J.Whincup, C.Lowndes Triple Eight Holden 161 3h13m09.9977s
2 C.Mostert, J.Moffat Tickford Ford 161 20.6310s
3 L.Holdsworth, T.Randle Tickford Ford 161 24.2552s
4 F.Coulthard, T.D'Alberto DJR Penske Ford 161 28.9357s
5 S.Pye, W.Luff Walkinshaw Holden 161 40.0917s
6 W.Davison, A.Davison 23Red Racing Ford 161 41.3411s
7 J.Courtney, J.Perkins Walkinshaw Holden 161 42.7357s
8 A.Heimgartner, B.Fullwood Kelly Nissan 161 45.1414s
9 S.McLaughlin, A.Premat DJR Penske Ford 161 46.8964s
10 A.De Pasquale, W.Brown Erebus Holden 161 52.9118s
11 N.Percat, T.Blanchard Brad Jones Holden 160 1 Lap
12 M.Winterbottom, S.Richards Schwerkolt Holden 160 1 Lap
13 T.Slade, A.Walsh Brad Jones Holden 160 1 Lap
14 R.Stanaway, C.Pither GRM Holden 160 1 Lap
15 Silvestro, A.Rullo Kelly Nissan 160 1 Lap
16 B.Kostecki, J.Kostecki Kostecki Holden 160 1 Lap
17 S.Gisbergen, G.Tander Triple Eight Holden 159 2 Laps
18 M.Jones, D.Canto Blanchard/BJR Holden 159 2 Laps
19 J.Le Brocq, J.Webb Tekno Holden 159 2 Laps
20 T.Hazelwood, J.Smith Matt Stone Holden 148 13 Laps
21 C.Waters, M.Caruso Tickford Ford 145 16 Laps
22 R.Kelly, D.Wood Kelly Nissan 128 33 Laps
- J.Golding, R.Muscat GRM Holden 155 Retirement
- G.Jacobson, D.Fiore Kelly Nissan 144 Retirement
- D.Reynolds, L.Youlden Erebus Holden 30 Retirement

Drivers' standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Scott McLaughlin 3614
2 Shane van Gisbergen 3064
3 Jamie Whincup 2968
4 Fabian Coulthard 2791
5 Chaz Mostert 2705
6 David Reynolds 2517
7 Cameron Waters 2387
8 Will Davison 2369
9 Lee Holdsworth 2323
10 Nick Percat 2298
11 James Courtney 2107
12 Scott Pye 1980
13 Anton De Pasquale 1979
14 Mark Winterbottom 1951
15 Andre Heimgartner 1764
16 Tim Slade 1727
17 Rick Kelly 1706
18 Todd Hazelwood 1480
19 Simona de Silvestro 1465
20 James Golding 1437
21 Jack Le Brocq 1223
22 Macauley Jones 1218
23 Garry Jacobson 1092
24 Richie Stanaway 1029
25 Craig Lowndes 828

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