Whincup and Lowndes reign supreme at Sandown, McLaughlin Champ

Winners Whincup and Lowndes
Winners Whincup and Lowndes

Defending Virgin Australia Supercars Champion Scott McLaughlin has sealed back-to-back Series titles at today's Penrite Oil Sandown 500.

The great Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup won today's 500km race and claimed the PIRTEK Enduro Cup, while McLaughlin finished ninth after being relegated to the back of the grid for its controversial Bathurst illegal engine.

Whincup felt for his Red Bull teammate Shane van Gisbergen who's day ended with a rear tire problem after leading the race.

"Commiserations to #97 – they did a great job today – but at the same time, we’ve been on the receiving end of the same thing plenty of times so we’ll certainly take it," Whincup said.

"Big thanks to CL (Lowndes) because he’s done an amazing job for the whole season of endurance."

McLaughlin's 9th place finish ensured he heads to next week's season finale in Newcastle with an unassailable points lead over Shane van Gisbergen meaning he is this year's Supercars Champion.

Whincup leads teammate van Gisbergen
Whincup leads teammate van Gisbergen

"It’s been a pretty tough month – obviously some things have happened and we’ve just pushed on as a team. I’m so proud of everyone," McLaughlin said.

"I don’t want to take away from Jamie and their team, they’ve done a great job all weekend.

"Right now we’re subdued because we’ve got another one and we really want to win that one and it’s nice to roll in to Newcastle with a full head of steam and be somewhat relaxed about it.

"It’s been an awesome ride all year and I’m really proud of it all.

It was Whincup and Lowndes' first Penrite Oil Sandown 500 win together in 12 years. It was also Lowndes 6th win at Sandown and Whincup's 5th. Whincup also won last year's endurance race in Melbourne.

Behind the #888 Red Bull Holden on the podium was Chaz Mostert and James Moffat who finished 3nd on James' father Allan Moffat's 80th birthday.

Mostert's Tickford Mustang teammate Lee Holdsworth broke a 2045 day, five year drought to finish third. It was his first podium since April 2014.

"It was so good, I was tearing up with about 6 to go and I was saying to myself come on and pull it together," Holdsworth said.

The #888 streaks to victory
The #888 streaks to victory

After starting 24th – due to a van Gisbergen DNF in the second Saturday sprint race – Garth Tander ran longer than the majority of co-drivers as he blitzed through the field, making up 22 places in 72 laps before jumping out.

Van Gisbergen emerged from his own pitstop two laps later with a 10-second buffer, but just as a third straight Red Bull one-two finish loomed, van Gisbergen’s Commodore gave way to a problem with a rear tire.

The 2016 champion tried to carry on before having to give up the fight with 10 laps remaining, pulling into the pits for repairs that would ultimately put him two laps down.

Among the fast starters was Jake Kostecki, who rose to fourth before enduring an eventful run of events.

The 19-year-old collided with Luke Youlden, bumping the Penrite Holden wide, then had contact with Chris Pither upon exiting his pit bay, and finally rubbing panels with Michael Caruso, whose Monster Energy Mustang was damaged after bouncing off the wall.

The championship now heads to Newcastle for the series finale, the Coates Hire Newcastle 500, featuring a concert by KISS and The Screaming Jets across November 22-24.

Results

POS # DRIVER TEAM TIME PTS
1 888 Whincup Lowndes Red Bull Holden Racing Team 3:13:09.998 250
2 55 Mostert Moffat Supercheap Auto Racing +20.631 230
3 5 Holdsworth T. Randle The Bottle-O Racing Team +24.255 215
4 12 Coulthard T. D'Alberto Shell V-Power Racing Team +28.936 200
5 2 S. Pye W. Luff Mobil 1 Racing +40.092 185
6 23 Davison A. Davison Milwaukee Racing +41.341 170
7 22 Courtney J. Perkins Mobil 1 Racing +42.736 160
8 7 Heimgartner B. Fullwood Plus Fitness Racing +45.141 150
9 17 McLaughlin A. Premat Shell V-Power Racing Team +46.896 140
10 99 A. de Pasquale W. Brown Penrite Racing +52.912 130
11 8 Percat Blanchard Fujitsu Racing +1 Lap 120
12 18 Winterbottom S. Richards Irwin Racing +1 Lap 115
13 14 Slade Walsh Freightliner Racing +1 Lap 110
14 33 R. Stanaway C. Pither Boost Mobile Racing +1 Lap 105
15 78 S. De Silvestro A. Rullo Team Harvey Norman +1 Lap 100
16 56 B. Kostecki J. Kostecki Boost Mobile Kostecki Brothers +1 Lap 95
17 97 Van Gisbergen Tander Red Bull Holden Racing Team +2 Laps 90
18 21 M. Jones D. Canto Team CoolDrive +2 Laps 85
19 19 J. Le Brocq J. Webb Truck Assist TEKNO Racing +2 Laps 80
20 35 T. Hazelwood J. Smith Bigmate Racing +13 Laps 75
21 6 C. Waters Caruso Monster Energy Racing Team +16 Laps 70
22 15 R. Kelly Wood Castrol Racing +33 Laps 65
NC 34 J. Golding R. Muscat Boost Mobile Racing +6 Laps 0
NC 3 G. Jacobson D. Fiore RABBLE.club Racing +17 Laps 0
NC 9 Reynolds L. Youlden Penrite Racing +131 Laps 0

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