Crashing the party
MOMENT OF TERROR: Holden’s Taz Douglas smashes into a tyre wall at 150km/ h on the first lap of yesterday’s Sandown 500. 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 125lap 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 de- livered 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.’’
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 enough.’’
The race opened in spectacular scenes to rival Saturday’s qualifying crash when Douglas speared off the track and smashed into a bundle of tyres.
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 – at PRA stop. They were left to wait for almost 60 minutes while the clean- up took place and the race became a timecertain 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.
A red- letter day for Red Bull loomed when Dumbrell showed blistering speed to pass both 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 suffering a tyre puncture.
Chaz Mostert finished third make it a double podium for PRA. to