A wet and wild day’s racing on Sunday has no Supercars driver keen to predict the outcome of the Sandown 500.
Jamie Whincup’s car No.88 will start on pole after the six-time series champion had combined with co-driver Paul Dumbrell to beat home the field in qualifying.
The duo’s third-straight pole position at the Melbourne circuit might have been a predictable result but Whincup said the forecast big wet meant Sunday wouldn’t be straightforward.
“It’s going to be all over the place,” he said.
“It’s going to be a matter of having the right tyres on at the right time, having the right set-up for the conditions.
“Everyone’s going to take a guess on what part of the race it’s going to be. Whoever takes the best guess will be in the best spot.”
The weather bureau is predicting up to 10mm of rain in Melbourne on race day, with most to fall before the start time of 1:15pm.
That has Dumbrell and Garth Tander, who will join the Red Bull driver on the front row, at odds over the best place to be.
With Tander’s Holden Racing Team car No.2 to start on the outside of the track, he said it could allow him or co-driver Warren Luff to scoot into the lead by turn one.
“I’d rather start on the outside of the front row. If it’s changeable weather, the outside line will be dry from previous races running across. The inside will probably be wet,” he said.
Dumbrell suggested an advantage might not materialise.
“The track’s quite abrasive … it might be a little bit dirty on the inside but, with wet weather coming, it’s probably going to neutralise the whole track,” he said.
Rule changes add to the intrigue.
“Now that they’ve taken out the four-stop minimum mandatory component of the strategy, I think you’ll see some variation of the teams over three or four stops,” he said.
“Throw the weather in as well and it’ll be a very interesting day tomorrow.”
Scott McLaughlin, whose Volvo will start from third place, says there is just one factor that has him well poised for the endurance race.
“I’m a Kiwi – I love the wet,” he said.