MELBOURNE, Victoria, Australia — official release — V8SC photo — Paul Dumbrell has held up his end of the bargain — by bringing the #1 Red Bull Commodore home first in the co-drivers ‘qualifying’ race at the Wilson Security Sandown 500.
Now, defending and five-time Champion Jamie Whincup has to do the same to lock up the ARMOR ALL Pole Position and go one better than they did at the same circuit last year, when Will Davison of Ford Performance Racing started from the top spot.
Whincup sat in the garage while his co-driver and close mate Dumbrell led from start to finish – and there was a scare during the 20 laps when an investigation was filed for a potential jumped start from ‘PD’.
However Dumbrell – and Jonathon Webb, who finished second and was also looked at – were both cleared from a false start.
Dumbrell kept his head down and led the race – which has seen incredible chaos in past years – from start to finish, ahead of Webb (pairing with Shane van Gisbergen) and Steve Owen (Mark Winterbottom).
“I’m happy on the sidelines – he might not be confident about me!” Whincup said post-race. “But he did a good job, which is great … the car was quick in qualifying trim, not sure how it was in the race but PD was reasonably happy. We’ll try to take his comments and go faster.”
Now he needs to replicate what his second in command pulled off – lead from the pole and sail home for ARMOR ALL Pole Position.
“The plan is straightforward – whether we can execute that is another thing, so we’ll see how we go.”
Sandown has been a happy hunting ground for Dumbrell, who not only won here alongside Whincup last year, but won as a solo racer in 2010, which encouraged him to continue for another season as a full-time driver.
“Since then I think we’ve been on the podium nearly every race – third and a win last year so I’d like not to break that tradition, and we can sit somewhere near the front tomorrow,” Dumbrell told v8supercars.com.au. “Jamie made my job a lot easier starting from the front row. I nearly stuffed it up – they thought I might’ve jumped the start – but the car’s really good. So it’s been a good day so far. Hopefully he brings it home and we have a good start for the 500 on Sunday.”
“The car’s been good. Obviously it’s the first time I’ve done 20 laps – so about half a race stint on Sunday – so we’ve got a bit of work to do to get the car consistent through the whole stint tomorrow.”
The main drivers will now jump in for a final race stint to determine tomorrow’s final starting grid and the prestigious ARMOR ALL Pole Position for the 50th running of the Sandown 500.