MELBOURNE, Victoria, Australia — Cameron Waters held off a charging Scott McLaughlin to dominate the second Race to the Grid at Sandown Park on Saturday. The Monster Energy Ford driver led every one of the 19 laps to start pole for Sunday’s Wilson Security Sandown 500.
“I didn’t expect it,” Waters said. “Richie did an awesome job in his race, and I just got a mega start and the car’s just amazing, so we’ve got a good start for tomorrow. It’s been a long time since I got one of these hats, and I kinda wanted to do a burnout at the end, but it wasn’t a race so I’ll have to try to do it tomorrow.
David Reynolds started the race on pole alongside Scott McLaughlin after their respective co-drivers finished 1-2 in the first Race to the Grid. Will Davison and Tim Blanchard would not take part in the second race due to the massive accident that took out their machinery on the last lap of the first race.
Jason Bright stalled on the grid on the pace lap in his Mega Fuels Ford Falcon, and would not take the start, causing the field to take an extra formation lap. Bright would start from the pit lane, four laps into the event.
Cameron Waters jumped from third to first on the start, despite Reynolds trying to close the gap between the Erebus Commodore and the inside wall. McLaughlin jumped Reynolds for second, but Reynolds was close behind. Craig Lowndes had smoke pouring out the back of the Caltex No. 888 Commodore, with a suspected power steering issue. Red Bull Holden’s Shane van Gisbergen nearly threw it off the track into the Turn nine gravel, but saved it.
Waters still held the lead from McLaughlin, but the Kiwi almost snagged the lead as Waters bobbled with the gears, but Waters got it solved in time. The gap after five laps was 0.566 seconds.
Lowndes would pit on lap six, and he would go to the garage. His race would be done with a power steering issue.
Waters still held the lead through 10 laps, with the gap right around 0.550 seconds. Waters would open up the gap in the early part of the second half, with it being close to three-quarters of a second on lap 13.
Despite McLaughlin closing in on Waters, Waters held on to take the win. Whincup tried to get by Reynolds for third, but couldn’t get it done.
1. Cameron Waters
2. Scott McLaughlin
3. David Reynolds
4. Jamie Whincup
5. Chaz Mostert
6. Fabian Coulthard
7. Dale Wood
8. Garth Tander
9. Mark Winterbottom
10. Nick Percat