Rising youngsters Cameron Waters and Richie Stanaway have scored their career-first Supercars victories by combining to win the second biggest race of the year, the Sandown 500.
The PRA Falcon pairing was the team to beat throughout the Sandown enduro, which had to be shortened from the 161-lap 500km journey to 125 laps due to delays repairing the trackside fencing after Taz Douglas’ opening lap crash.
It was Waters’ first championship race win in just his second full season; for Stanaway it was victory after only a handful of championship starts for the highly-rated young Kiwi. Capping off a perfect weekend, the pair had claimed pole position in the Sandown race’s complicated qualifying heat system.
“I don’t know what to say,” Waters grinned. “I’m so pumped. I didn’t think I was going to keep him off. Scotty, I don’t know if he used his tyre up in that last stint a bit, but managed to hold the gap and we won.
“I’m so pumped for the guys, they’ve put massive hours in, pushing the upgrades through. This guy [Stanaway] did a bloody mega job, got me the lead and I managed to hold onto it, I’m pumped.”
It was close in the end, as Waters had to withstand the pressure from championship leader Scott McLaughlin. In the end McLaughlin and co-driver in the DJR Team Penske Falcon, Frenchman Alex Premat, trailed the winner across the line by less than a second.
Making it a Ford one-two-three was Waters’ PRA team-mate Chaz Mostert and co-driver Steve Owen in the Supercheap Auto Racing Falcon.
Waters and Stanaway now hold the points lead in the three-round PIRTEK Enduro Cup ahead of the Bathurst 1000 next month. McLaughlin’s second place sees him extend his Supercars Championship points lead over Jamie Whincup by substantial margin on a day when Whincup struggled home in sixth place.