Torrential rain marred the second race of today’s NRMA Sydney 500 with the race ending under a safety car.
The dark clouds descended on Olympic Park and the thunder rumbled across the mountains just minutes before the start.
The heavens opened on lap 13 and it was a mad rush to get in to the pits to change to wet weather tyres. Water flooded the track within three laps with some drivers calling for the race to be red flagged.
On lap 18 race directors deployed the safety car to slow the race as the cars were aquaplaning down the straight at just 60km/h. By lap 19 the race was suspended due to the treacherous conditions with all cars called into pit lane.
The cars returned to the track behind the safety car on lap 21 and Jamie Whincup led the cars across the finish line for the second time in the day with the last lap called at lap 23 of 37.
“That was probably the worst conditions I have ever been in,” Craig Lowndes told Channel 7.
Whincup claimed the V8 Supercars Championship crown two weeks ago at Phillip Island but that didn’t mean the competition was not fierce earlier today. The battle for second place raged with all three contenders suffering setbacks during the day.
Craig Lowndes came to grief in qualifying and was in doubt to even start race one after a heavy hit at turn six which triggered a safety car and the end of the session with one minute left on the clock. The early finish to qualifying saw Shane Van Gisbergen start way down the pack in 19th. Mark Winterbottom started the race on the third row before coming to grief in the race.
Whincup joined Davison on the front row for the first race and despite having the championship sewn up, Whincup did not slow on the tough street circuit. The champion elect went on to take victory in race one. Davison was forced to retire due to a power steering issue which saw him out of the entire round.
Lowndes’ crash saw him start down the order and ended up 13th overall. Shane Van Gisbergen was a casualty of the early finishing qualifying and finished sixth while Winterbottom crashed early in the race and ended up finishing 23rd.
After race one Mark Winterbottom led Lowndes by 80 points and Lowndes and van Gisbergen were separated by just 21 points.
All points were allocated for the second race with the race being declared “run”. The wash up saw Winterbottom in second place in the championship points with van Gisbergen in third and Lowndes in fourth going into tomorrow’s race.
Did you watch the race? What was your favourite moment?