Driver’s wa­ter­shed win

Young Ford gun out­lasts Su­per­cars heavy­weights to claim first suc­cess

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - SPORT - 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 fixed 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 con­tained 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,’’ he said.

“They put all the work in. As I said, I am just so pumped and it is all a bit sur­real.’’

Kiwi co-driver Richie Stan­away added his name to the sil­ver­ware with a fault­less open­ing stint that set up the win for Wa­ters.

“I am very proud to get the re­sult,’’ Stan­away said.

“I can’t thank the guys at PRA enough.’’

The race opened in spec­tac­u­lar scenes to ri­val Satur­day’s qual­i­fy­ing crash when Dou­glas speared off the track and hit a tyre bun­dle. Al­though he was un­hurt, the safety bar­rier was torn apart, forc­ing a red flag in 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 for al­most 60 min­utes while the clean-up took place and the race be­came a time-cer­tain event.

With 35 laps stripped from the race, pole-sit­ter Stan­away pow­ered to the lead at the rolling restart as Alexan­dre Pre­mat and Paul Dum­brell gave chase.

But the big­gest charge came from the back when Shane Van Gis­ber­gen, who was one of only two main driv­ers to start the race, put his foot to the floor.

In a stun­ning stint, the Red Bull cham­pion went from 21st to sixth in just 13 laps to give him­self a shot at re­demp­tion fol­low­ing car No.97’s qual­i­fy­ing woes.

A red-let­ter day for Red Bull loomed when Dum­brell showed good speed to pass Pre­mat and Stan­away and take the race lead on lap 22.

But the en­durance spe­cial­ist’s smile dis­ap­peared when he spun out of con­tention af­ter a tyre punc­ture.

Stan­away ended his nearper­fect solo run on lap 56 and handed the lead to Wa­ters.

Pic­ture: GETTY IMAGES

Cameron Wa­ters drives his Ford Fal­con FGX to glory at the Sandown 500, join­ing co-driver Richie Stan­away (in­set) on the podium af­ter land­ing the Su­per­cars shock.

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