TOURING CAR MASTERS
Stephen White completed his stellar Touring Car Masters debut aboard Coates Hire driver/ambassador John Bowe's Trans Am Mustang, finishing third in both 12-lap races yesterday at Sandown Raceway.
Starting fourth on the grid, White put in a very solid performance to finish behind Andrew Miedecke and Jim Richards in a repeat of the top two placings in yesterday's first race.
Bowe's crew had to replace a gearbox in Mustang Sally for third race where Stephen White would start third on the grid behind Miedecke and Richards and alongside Tony Karanfilovski.
Starting from third White got another good start to hold that place into turn one behind Richards and Miedecke. The leading two built a small gap ahead of White who was followed by Paul Freestone, Eddie Abelnica and Steve Mason, rounding out the top six.
On lap four Miedecke passed Richards into turn one only for Richards to snatch back the lead two laps later. By now White was comfortably in third as Richards and Miedecke continued to fight for the lead. Miedecke grabbed the lead again at the end of the long back straight and started to build a small gap, beating a fast finishing Richards to the line.
Crossing the line third in the last of the 12-lap races completed White's fairytale debut in the Touring Car Masters.
At the conclusion of the third race John Bowe said: “I knew Stephen was a good choice and I have known him for a long time because of our joint association with Dunlop and he has done a great job."
"He was one of those guys who slipped through the net in the earlier days when Craig Lowndes, Jason Bright and Steven Richards were doing their thing. He hasn’t put a foot wrong all weekend and his results mean that Mustang Sally has been in the podium in every round of the championship this year and we are still in the points hunt.”
Coates Hire supported Nick Percat driving the Holden Racing Team V8 supercar with Garth Tander finished 22nd in yesterday's Wilson Security Sandown 500.
Starting 13th on the grid, Percat moved up one place on the opening lap and maintained that position until an unscheduled pitstop on lap 11 to remove an underbody panel. Percat returned to the pits on lap 21 and dropped to 28th.
On lap 35 the safety car appeared after Ash Walsh had a big crash in the high-speed esses at the end of the back straight. Although the car was badly damaged, Walsh was okay.
By lap 58 Percat had worked his way forward to 10th but the following lap ran wide at the end of the back straight dropping back to 12th.
He then pitted on lap 66 in 13th place under a safety car period and handed over to Garth Tander who rejoined 23rd.
On lap 85 Tander had moved up to third behind the Mercedes duo of Tim Slade and Lee Holdsworth, the first time the German machines had ever run one-two in a V8 Supercar race. Two laps later Tander ran wide at turn nine and dropped back to seventh and shortly after clashed with David Wall at the same corner and immediately pitted for repairs. He then rejoined on lap 96 in 25th position.
Tander pitted again on lap 135 from 23rd and rejoined three laps later and after an eventful 500 kilometres crossed the line to finish 22nd.
Jamie Whincup won the race, in a remarkable recovery drive from 25th after a pitlane penalty followed by teammate Craig Lowndes with Will Davison third.
Nick Percat said: "It was all pretty much over on the first lap as Tony D'Alberto ran into the back of me and then we had to stop to remove the damaged bodywork. I had to attack my pitlane entry pretty hard as I was in the middle of an intense battle, and as a result copped a pitlane speeding penalty. From there it wasn't to bad, but towards the end we had a couple of mechanical issues which put us out of contention."