Reynolds rides the storm to slay giants

Sunday Mail - - SPORT - JAMES PHELPS

DAVE Reynolds fought off rain, hail and the great­est driver of the mod­ern era to set up a Sandown 500 win­ning shot, with the Holden driver yes­ter­day scor­ing the hard­est-fought pole of his ca­reer.

On a wild day in Mel­bourne where there was hail, rain and sun­shine, Reynolds beat both Jamie Whin­cup and the fastchang­ing con­di­tions to land an­other gi­ant-slay­ing qual­i­fy­ing win.

Amid a back­drop of safety cars, crashes, and chaos, the Ere­bus Mo­tor­sport driver held off a fast-fin­ish­ing Whin­cup on a wet track to an­nounce him­self as a Sandown 500 con­tender.

“It was a bizarre, crazy day,’’ Reynolds

“Dur­ing those last few laps my tyres were go­ing off and I was strug­gling a bit. Jamie was a lot faster than me, so I am grate­ful to have pole.’’

Co-driver Luke Youlden helped set up the win by charg­ing through the field on slick tyres dur­ing a weather-marred co-driver qual­i­fy­ing race.

Buried mid­field in the 20lap rap be­tween co-driv­ers that set the grid for the lead driver race, Youlden and Ere­bus pro­duced a mas­ter­stroke by re­fus­ing to pit for wetweather tyres.

“He re­ally did it all,’’ Reynolds said.

“He did an amaz­ing job in the fully wet con­di­tions. We got a lit­tle lucky with the strat­egy call. If we were the lead car we prob­a­bly would have pit­ted for wet tyres.’’

The day opened with Whin­cup set­ting a lap record to blitz the field in the qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion that set the grid for the co­driver race. In a stun­ning show of speed, the V8 im­mor­tal clocked a 1.07.83 to eclipse the mark set by his co-driver Paul Dum­brell on Fri­day.

“This is a mas­sive deal,’’ Whin­cup said.

“PD (Dum­brell) had the Sandown ‘Lap of the Gods’ yes­ter­day and I ended up pip­ping him. I would have been hear­ing about that for the next 25 years. What a re­lief.”

Cham­pi­onship con­tenders Shane van Gis­ber­gen (10th yes­ter­day) and Scott McLaugh­lin (14th) both failed to fire in a first-up per­for­mance that made the rest of the day a come­back mis­sion.

“I am go­ing to give my­self a kick up the bum,’’ McLaugh­lin said. “That was av­er­age from my side.’’

But McLaugh­lin soon roared back into con­tention.

In the co-driver qual­i­fy­ing race, McLaugh­lin’s co-driver Alex Pre­mat went from 14th to third. Opt­ing to stay out when rain belted the track on lap 8, Pre­mat marched his way through the field to give McLaugh­lin a sec­ond-row start as Dum­brell pit­ted from first to put on wets.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.