Waters snatches first race win at Sandown
A STAR was born at Sandown Raceway yesterday when Cameron Waters turned giant-killer to outlast series leader Scott McLaughlin for his first career win.
Waters joined Supercars immortals Peter Brock, Mark Skaife and Allan Moffat as a Sandown 500 champion in a crash-shortened 125-lap race.
Holden’s Taz Douglas went hurtling into a tyre wall at 150km/h on the first lap, forcing an hour-long red flag which cut short the race by 36 laps as officials cleared the debris and repaired the wall.
Once racing restarted, Waters and his Prodrive Racing Australia car delivered Ford a shock win in the start to the endurance season, holding off the flying Ford of DJR Team Penske heavyweight McLaughlin by just over half a second.
“I don’t know what to say,’’ Waters, 23, said after winning the 46th Sandown 500.
“I am just so pumped. I didn’t think I could keep Scotty off for the last little bit but we won and I am just so pumped.’’
Waters struggled to contain his emotions after winning his first race in just his second full-time year of Supercars.
“I have to thank everyone here at the team,’’ Waters said.
“They put all the work in. As I said I am just so pumped and it is all a bit surreal.’’
Richie Stanaway also added his name to the silverware with the Kiwi co-driver faultless in the opening stint that set up the win for Waters. The race opened in spectacular scenes to rival Saturday’s crash in qualifying when Douglas speared off the track and smashed into a tyre bundle. Although he emerged unhurt, the safety barrier was torn apart, forcing officials to red-flag the race.
Race officials scrambled to repair the damage to the tyre wall as the field peeled into the pits for an unscheduled — and unwelcomed — stop.
They were left to wait as the clean-up, taking almost 60 minutes, turned the race into a time-certain event.
With 35 laps stripped from the race, pole-sitter Stanaway powered to the lead at the restart as Alexandre Premat and Paul Dumbrell gave chase. Chat Mostert finished third to make it a double podium for PRA, while Shane Van Gisbergen’s championship took a battering when he blew a tyre at the end to finish 16th.
Jamie Whincup recovered from a blowout to finish sixth and remain in championship contention.
Race winners Cameron Waters, left, and Richie Stanaway of the Monster Energy Ford team celebrate after their victory yesterday in the Sandown 500 in Melbourne. Inset: Waters charges away from his rivals on a corner