Dunlop’s Supercars tyres continue to suffer issues related to the ability to hold air within their confines, costing the Red Bull Holdens of Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen to experience blowouts and deny both drivers the chance of a podium finish.
For us, this recalls the time four of us were late for school exams and told the instructor that we were tardy because the car we were riding in had a flat tyre.
When the instructor handed us our copies of the exam, there was only one question – “Which tyre went flat?” well, the jig was up, as we had not bothered to gain consensus on that detail.
For Kiwi driver Richie Stanaway, however, it was an upset victory in the Sandown 500 that highlighted his weekend of racing. Cam Waters and Stanaway made it a good weekend for the Ford Falcon FG X cars.
The two Prodrive Racing drivers were considered longshots in the days leading up to the Melbourne race, but they delivered unexpected speed to take the pole position on Saturday and backed that with the win Sunday.
The Sandown 500 was inaccurately named, as officials reduced the length of the race to 125 laps, which worked out to 387 km, but it was too late to change any of the banners or other promotional materials, and besides, Sandown 387 lacks the cachet of Sandown 500.
A crash at turn six on the first lap was the cause for the abbreviation and that same corner knocked Taz Douglas out of the race during qualification.
The shortening of the race meant that team strategies had to be rethought. Rather than run the full distance, the race was modified to have a time-enforced finish. Reigning champion van Gisbergen was a beneficiary, as he decided to start the race in the car, where he quickly worked through the field.
The final results left DJR Team Penske as the frontrunners in the constructors’ championship.