Reynolds rides the storm to slay giants
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.