Sandown 500: Heat win hands pole to Whincup/Lowndes

Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes will start the 2019 Sandown 500 from pole position thanks to a dominant Whincup performance in the second heat race.

Sandown 500: Heat win hands pole to Whincup/Lowndes

The seven-times series champion cruised to a 7.3s win in a dramatic wet weather race, he and Lowndes set to share the front row with the Andre Heimgartner/Bryce Fullwood Nissan for tomorrow's 500-kilometre race.

It was all about the start for Whincup, the polesitter taking a comfortable lead into the first corner.

There was drama behind him, however, with teammate Shane van Gisbergen clattering into the side of Anton De Pasquale and sending them both into a spin.

That took two serious contenders out of the running, and left Whincup with a sizeable gap from the get-go. 

From there the only question mark was the weather, Whincup having opted for grooved tyres on a potentially-drying track. But the wet proved to be the right rubber, Whincup controlling the race to secure pole for tomorrow's final endurance race of the season.

"We've been a little bit hit and miss in the wet this year, we've had some good performances and some that haven't been so nice," said Whincup. 

"[Engineer David] Cauchi did a great job with the strategy with the tyres. It's always touch and go, but that's why the engineers gets the big bucks to make the right calls and today we made the right one. 

"The car was good and poles have been few and far between this year, so we'll certainly take this one."

Heimgartner emerged from the early chaos in second place, setting up a lonely run to the flag. He never looked like chasing down Whincup, but also finished more than 2s clear of David Reynolds and Will Davison.

Scott McLaughlin was forced to work hard for fifth place, climbing tyre pressures leaving him in the clutches of teammate Fabian Coulthard and Tickford's Lee Holdsworth. 

The absolute star of the race, however, was wildcard rookie Brodie Kostecki. From 21st on the grid, the Holden driver stormed to a fine eighth place, his race included a well-executed move on former series champion James Courtney.

Chaz Mostert was another hard charger, rapidly going from the back of the grid to the midfield in the opening two laps before finishing ninth, one spot clear of Courtney.

Proving the clear divide between the wets and slicks starters, De Pasquale still managed to finish 13th – better than anyone that started on dry rubber – despite his first-lap spin and a subsequent drive-through.

That penalty was the most contentious part of the race, driving standards advisor Craig Baird initially judging De Pasquale to have cut van Gisbergen off into Turn 1.

Van Gisbergen, however, was quick to explain that the contact was his fault, Baird subsequently admitting that he got the call wrong and apologising to De Pasquale.

Cam Waters ended up best of the slicks-shod drivers in 14th, leading a group that included Mark Winterbottom, James Golding, Rick Kelly and Nick Percat.

Race results:

Cla # Driver Car Gap
1 888 Australia Jamie Whincup
Australia Craig Lowndes
Holden Commodore ZB
2 7 New Zealand Andre Heimgartner
Australia Bryce Fullwood
Nissan Altima 7.380
3 9 Australia David Reynolds
Australia Luke Youlden
Holden Commodore ZB 9.634
4 23 Australia Will Davison
Australia Alex Davison
Ford Mustang GT 9.732
5 17 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin
France Alexandre Prémat
Ford Mustang GT 14.118
6 12 New Zealand Fabian Coulthard
Australia Tony D'Alberto
Ford Mustang GT 14.227
7 5 Australia Lee Holdsworth
Australia Thomas Randle
Ford Mustang GT 14.906
8 56 Brodie Kostecki
Australia Jake Kostecki
Holden Commodore ZB 15.528
9 55 Australia Chaz Mostert
Australia James Moffat
Ford Mustang GT 15.640
10 22 Australia James Courtney
Jack Perkins
Holden Commodore ZB 20.030
11 35 Australia Todd Hazelwood
United States Jack Smith
Holden Commodore ZB 25.815
12 78 Switzerland Simona de Silvestro
Australia Alex Rullo
Nissan Altima 29.445
13 99 Australia Anton De Pasquale
Australia Will Brown
Holden Commodore ZB 52.046
14 6 Australia Cameron Waters
Australia Michael Caruso
Ford Mustang GT 1'06.346
15 18 Australia Mark Winterbottom
New Zealand Steven Richards
Holden Commodore ZB 1'12.870
16 34 Australia James Golding
Richard Muscat
Holden Commodore ZB 1'13.242
17 15 Australia Rick Kelly
Australia Dale Wood
Nissan Altima 1 Lap
18 8 Australia Nick Percat
Australia Tim Blanchard
Holden Commodore ZB 1 Lap
19 33 New Zealand Richie Stanaway
New Zealand Chris Pither
Holden Commodore ZB 1 Lap
20 14 Australia Tim Slade
Australia Ash Walsh
Holden Commodore ZB 1 Lap
21 21 Australia Macauley Jones
Australia Dean Canto
Holden Commodore ZB 1 Lap
22 3 Australia Garry Jacobson
Australia Dean Fiore
Nissan Altima 1 Lap
23 2 Australia Scott Pye
Australia Warren Luff
Holden Commodore ZB 1 Lap
24 19 Australia Jack Le Brocq
Australia Jonathon Webb
Holden Commodore ZB 1 Lap
97 New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen
Australia Garth Tander
Holden Commodore ZB
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