Wa­ters snatches first race win at Sandown

NT News - - MOTORSPORT - JAMES PHELPS

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.

Pic­tures: AAP/GETTY

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

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