Sandown 500, today from 11am, qualifying 12.50pm, 3.45pm, 6.15pm; tomorrow from 11am, race 19, 3.15pm.
First leg of three in the Pirtek Enduro Cup. At the Sandown track in Melbourne for the 48th time ( no venue has hosted more Supercars rounds) and the 46th running of the Sandown endurance race which started as a six- hour affair in 1964. Grabbing pole here not always a ticket to success as only twice in the last 30 endurance races at the track has the pole- sitter — Lowndes/ Murphy in 1996 and Whincup/ Dumbrell in 2014. Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell are together again ( they also won in 2013). Not a happy hunting ground for Kiwis. The last New Zealander to win was Inky Tulloch ( as co- driver for Stuart Kostera ( 2011). Before that Greg Murphy ( with Craig Lowndes ( 1996 and 1997) and Jim Richards with Mark Skaife ( 1989) and Tony Longhurst ( 1975). Raced over 161 laps of the 3.1km circuit, the race takes around 3h 30m at an average speed of about 150km/ h. The battle at the top of leaderboard remains tight with Scott McLaughlin ( who teams with Alex Premat here) leading Whincup by 12 points with Fabian Coulthard ( with Tony D’Alberto) 95 points back. Richie Stanaway joins Cam Waters for the 500 while Chris Pither is with Dale Wood to ensure a strong Kiwi presence.