Tickford Returns Home for the 2021 Penrite Oil Sandown SuperSprint
Round wrap-up for the 2021 Penrite Oil Sandown SuperSprint
The second round of the 2021 Supercars Championship saw Tickford head to their home turf of Melbourne’s Sandown Raceway for the Penrite Oil Sandown SuperSprint. A rainy weekend set the scene for Round 2 of the championship with the 13 corner, 3.1km long track with a focus on high-speed straightaways made for the perfect opportunity to make up some ground on the championship ladder for the drivers of the Ryco-backed Tickford Racing fleet, Jack Le Broq in the the No. 5 Truck Assist Ford Mustang, Cam Waters piloting the No. 6 Monster Energy Ford Mustang, and James Courtney behind the wheel of the No.44 Boost Mobile Ford Mustang. All three drivers gave us their thoughts before the race weekend. Jack Le Broq: “I’m really looking forward to getting to Sandown. It’s a great event for us, it’s always been nice to me, this circuit, and Tickford’s always had a really good run there. Fingers crossed we continue some good success for the team and have some good results like we did at Bathurst.”
Cam Waters: “We had a pretty good start at Bathurst, obviously a bit of bad luck with the Saturday and the power steering, but overall I still got a pretty good, solid bag of points and going to Sandown, obviously we won there in 2017 and Tickford cars have usually been pretty strong there in the past. I’m super excited to get back to Sandown and hopefully have a good weekend.”
James Courtney: “The boys did a great job repairing the car after my little faux pas in Bathurst. It’s great to be able to get out there at Sandown, Sandown’s been a great event for me in the past. It’s a little bit like a street circuit in that it’s so bumpy, using a lot of kerb, and it’s one of those old school race tracks that bites and punishes you when you don’t do something right. I enjoy that, and I’m looking forward to it.”
The action kicked off on Saturday with all three Tickford Racing Ford Mustangs showing promising results for the rest of the race weekend. Le Broq ended Practice 2 with a best of 1m08.23s, placing him 7thth amongst the pack. Meanwhile, Courtney found 4 places finished up with a 6th placing and best time of 1m08.22s. Waters improved his between Practice 1 and Practice 2, moving from 2nd to 1st on the Leaderboard and ending practice strong with a best time of 1m07.91s. Saturday afternoon saw Waters blitzing the Race 3 qualifying session, achieving 2nd place on the grid, besting his already rapid practice session times with a 1m07.67s. Le Broq wasn’t too far behind his stablemate, ending Race 3 Qualifying with a 1m07.96s and earning himself a 5th placing on the grid. Courtney struggled to find his pace, qualifying 11th with a 1m08.22.
Saturday afternoon set the stage for a dramatic Race 1, with Cameron Waters leading the pack for most the race and battling it out with Chaz Mostert and Jaime Whincup to retain his lead. A stunning double overtake by Shane Van Gisbergen in the final moments of Race 3 saw Waters find himself with a new opponent, ultimately first place on Turn 1 of the final lap. Meanwhile, James Courtney and Jack Le Broq found themselves within one place of one another, ending the event with Courtney finishing in 9th and Le Broq finishing in 10th. Cameron Waters had this to say during Saturday’s press conference - “You can’t write him off forever [Shane Van Gisbergen] can you? For me I was just racing my own race and I knew what I had to do, and when he popped up it was just another battle that I was about to endeavour on, and we had a tyre advantage, but you know, I did everything I could.”
With Race 3 in the books, Sunday’s events saw some treacherous weather conditions, making for quite the challenge for the Tickford Racing drivers. Race 4 Qualifying made for a mixed bag for Tickford, with Waters edging 4th place on the grid with a best of 1m18.99s, Courtney managing a 6th placing with a 1m19.14s, and Le Broq finding himself quite a far way behind at 16th on the grid with a best qualifying lap of 1m19.78s. Race 5 Qualifying saw all three drivers move down the grid, with Waters managing 10th with a best of 1m18.98s, Courtney in 15th with a 1m19.39s, and Le Broq towards the back of the pack with 22nd place on the grid with a best of 1m20.05s.
Sunday’s weather conditions posed a massive a challenge for the drivers tasked with as far up the pack as possible during Race 4 of the Sandown SuperSprint. Cam Waters achieved just with a podium finish for Race 4 in second place. James Courtney and Jack Le Broq also managed to improve their standings by the end of Race 4 with Courtney moving up the grid to a 7th place finish and Le Broq with a 12th place finish. Race 5 of the 2021 Sandown SuperSprint proved just as treacherous with Sunday’s wet weather persisting. Both Cam Waters and Le Broq managed to improve upon their Race 5 Qualifying results with Waters moving 4 places to a 6th place finish, and Le Broq moving up 6 places to 16th place finish whilst Courtney stayed put at 15th to round out his race weekend.
Post-race, all three drivers shared their thoughts. Cam Waters: “Not a bad day obviously, wet weather really spiced it up. Had some epic battles this weekend which was quite cool. Had to really work for it in that last race, in our qualifiers as well as we probably should’ve, but first in we struggled a little bit with tyre pressures and whatnot, but after the stop we were stronger and managed to get back a bit of the track, or track position that we lost and had a lot of fun.
Jack Le Broq: “Yeah, pretty up and down day for us. We didn’t quite nail qualifying and I don’t think we got the car quite in the right spot, but improved a lot for the first race today and had some really good speed which was good. We got turned around which was a bit unfortunate but we were able to get up to P12 there which was pretty cool. We had a quick car in the wet and dry conditions. That was good, we went chasing a little bit more for the last one there and probably overdid it a little bit, so yeah, live and learn, but pretty solid weekend all-round. It was pretty cool, we had some good pace throughout Saturday and parts of today, so yeah, looking forward to Tassie.”
James Courtney: “Yeah Sunday was eventful. Woke up and I was like “Oh crap, it’s raining”. It’s always going to be tough here but it’s not Sandown if it doesn’t rain. Qualifying first session was pretty good, we were 6th, second session wasn’t great, we were 15th, interesting with the two tyres sets, was a little bit different, which probably caught us out a little bit, but yeah the first race was pretty good. The car was really quite strong, pushing on really well. We had a drama in the pit stop, which cost us eight seconds or something. We couldn’t get the front right wheel off, so that put us back, but we came home 7th and that was pretty good considering all that stuff and then today got spun in the start and was way behind the field and just had to come back through, so did a lot of passing but in the end wasn’t the result we were after.
The 2021 Penrite Oil Sandown Showdown also saw Tickford make history, managing the 100th podium finish for the Ford Mustang as a part of Australian motorsport history. With the Penrite Oil Sandown SuperSprint done and dusted, Cam finds himself two positions up the ladder, placing 4th on the Driver’s Championship ladder with 435 points. After this weekend’s action, Jack places 11th on the ladder with 286 points, moving two positions down the ladder. James improved his standing on the championship ladder by a good seven positions, placing 16th with 250 points. As for the Dunlop Team Championship, Tickford Racing moves the ladder to 3rd place with 685 points, with the Tickford-backed Truck Assist Racing finding themselves with a 12th placing with 286 points.
The third round of the 2021 Supercars Championship calendar heads to Launceston, Tasmania for the Beaurepaires Tasmania SuperSprint at Symmons Plains Raceway, running on the 10th and 11th of April.
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