Sandown Supercars: Reynolds edges Whincup for pole

David Reynolds and Luke Youlden will start the Sandown 500 from pole position, after Reynolds held off a hard-charging Jamie Whincup in the second qualifying race.

Sandown Supercars: Reynolds edges Whincup for pole

Reynolds and Whincup staged a thrilling battle in the closing stages of the second 20-lap heat that determines the grid for tomorrow's main race, the reigning Bathurst 1000 winner doing just enough to secure pole for the first enduro of the season.

Andre Heimgartner started the second qualifying race from pole thanks to co-driver Aaren Russell's success in the opening heat earlier today, but the Nissan driver blew his chance even before the lights went out. The Kiwi crept out of his grid box a handful of seconds early, which was followed up by a sluggish getaway.

That was great news for Reynolds, who got a clear getaway from the outside of the front row and streaked into the lead. By the end of the first lap the Erebus driver was 2.1s clear of Scott McLaughlin, that advantage out to 2.6s two laps later when first Safety Car was called.

The culprit for the caution was James Courtney, the Walkinshaw Andretti United driver firing into the wall on the run down to Dandenong Road, plucking the right front wheel off his Commodore, and coming to a rest in the gravel.

The restart went green again on Lap 8, Reynolds picking up where he left off. He had little trouble gapping the two Penske Fords behind him.

However the biggest threat to his lead was further back. From sitting sixth at the restart, Whincup went on a charge. He quickly cleared Nick Percat, before pulling off a pair of daring moves at Turn 6 to dispose of Mark Winterbottom and Fabian Coulthard.

On Lap 13 he eased past McLaughlin into Turn 1 to take second, leaving him with a 1.3s gap to Reynolds.

With two laps to go the gap was nothing, Whincup glued to the back of the Erebus Holden. But that was as close as it got, Reynolds holding off the reigning series champion by 0.2s.

“It was a bizarre, crazy day, but it was all set up by Luke who did an amazing job for us in the fully wet conditions,” said Reynolds.

“We got very lucky with the strategy call. If we were the lead car at that point we probably would have pitted like Anton did.

“Things just organically happened today and we kind of benefited from it.

“That last couple of laps, my rear tyres had gone off, I was struggling a bit and Jamie was a lot faster than me, so I’m ever-so-grateful to get pole.”

Scott McLaughlin finished the race third, the title contender cruising around just ahead of Coulthard after the pair were passed by Whincup,

Winterbottom finished fifth, while Heimgartner came home sixth after his troublesome start.

Chaz Mostert and Tim Slade were next, while Anton De Pasquale survived a wild final-lap battle with Triple Eight pair Craig Lowndes and Shane van Gisbergen to finish ninth.

Lowndes ended up getting the better of that intra-team battle with van Gisbergen, the pair swapping spots a couple of times in the latter stages of the race. The Kiwi had got by Lowndes, a logical outcome given the finely-balanced title fight, but Lowndes hit back on the final lap and squeezed his way back past into 10th.

That means he and Steve Richards will start from the outside of the fifth row tomorrow, while van Gisbergen and Earl Bamber will be on the inside of the sixth row.

Race results:

Cla # Driver Car Gap
1 9 Australia David Reynolds 
Australia Luke Youlden 
Holden Commodore ZB  
2 1 Australia Jamie Whincup 
Paul Dumbrell 
Holden Commodore ZB  
3 17 France Alexandre Prémat 
New Zealand Scott McLaughlin 
Ford Falcon FG X 0.2660
4 12 Australia Tony D'Alberto 
New Zealand Fabian Coulthard 
Ford Falcon FG X 0.3630
5 5 Australia Mark Winterbottom 
Australia Dean Canto 
Ford Falcon FG X 0.6877
6 7 New Zealand Andre Heimgartner 
Australia Aaren Russell 
Nissan Altima 0.6789
7 55 Australia Chaz Mostert 
Australia James Moffat 
Ford Falcon FG X 0.6280
8 14 Australia Tim Slade 
Australia Ash Walsh 
Holden Commodore ZB 0.5684
9 99 Australia Will Brown 
Anton de 
Holden Commodore ZB 0.7905
10 888 New Zealand Steven Richards 
Australia Craig Lowndes 
Holden Commodore ZB 0.2701
11 97 New Zealand Earl Bamber 
New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen 
Holden Commodore ZB 0.2134
12 230 Australia Alex Davison 
Australia Will Davison 
Ford Falcon FG X 0.8676
13 6 Australia David Russell 
Australia Cameron Waters 
Ford Falcon FG X 0.8080
14 21 Australia Dale Wood 
Australia Tim Blanchard 
Holden Commodore ZB 0.7553
15 33 Australia Garth Tander 
New Zealand Chris Pither 
Holden Commodore ZB 0.7630
16 15 Australia Rick Kelly 
Garry Jacobson 
Nissan Altima 0.6548
17 56 New Zealand Richie Stanaway 
Australia Steven Owen 
Ford Falcon FG X 0.6255
18 23 Australia Michael Caruso 
Australia Dean Fiore 
Nissan Altima 0.5809
19 2 Australia Warren Luff 
Australia Scott Pye 
Holden Commodore ZB 0.4387
20 19 Australia Jonathon Webb 
Australia Jack Le Brocq 
Holden Commodore ZB 0.7397
21 18 Australia Lee Holdsworth 
Australia Jason Bright 
Holden Commodore ZB 0.5667
22 78 Switzerland Simona de Silvestro 
Australia Alex Rullo 
Nissan Altima 0.8289
23 35 Australia Bryce Fullwood 
Australia Todd Hazelwood 
Ford Falcon FG X 0.8613
24 34 Australia James Golding 
Richard Muscat 
Holden Commodore ZB 0.3980
25 8 Australia Nick Percat 
Australia Macauley Jones 
Holden Commodore ZB 0.6664
  25 Australia James Courtney 
Jack Perkins 
Holden Commodore ZB 11.8317
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