Tander-Luff claim momentous Sandown crown

Garth Tander and Warren Luff have claimed a famous Sandown 500 win, holding steady to defy Shane van Gisbergen and a failing car to win the Supercars endurance race.

The Holden Racing Team pair crossed the line ahead of the Red Bull Racing driver on a dramatic day in Melbourne.

With 20 laps remaining, the mud guard in Tander’s car blew out, barely clinging to the Commodore through the race’s final stages.

Race officials decided against penalising the former series winner for an unsafe car, but Tander still needed to fend of a rampant van Gisbergen.

He did so by less than a third of a second – the second-closest margin in the race’s history.

An exuberant Tander jumped on the car to celebrate.

“The car was really nice until the guard fell of it. Then it was really hard work,” he said.

“I wanted this one on the CV, I didn’t have it yet.”

Van Gisbergen, who competed with Alex Premat, suggested there would be no appeal from Red Bull after the race.

“I’m glad they let it run … it wouldn’t have been right to win that way,’ he said.

Will Davison and Jonathan Webb claimed third.

From the first lap to the last, the Enduro Cup opener was spectacular.

James Golding’s lap one crash brought the first red flag and restart in the 500-kilometre classic’s history.

On his first Supercars start, the 20-year-old hit the tyre wall at 149km/h in his Volvo but walked away unhurt.

The remaining 25 cars fought out a battle royale with such carnage, the track and cars resembled a scene from Mad Max.

Degraded tyres and muck from many trips into the grass showed the tough conditions.

Occasional rain gave team bosses headaches all afternoon, messing with the best-made strategies and throwing cars from the track.

While van Gisbergen, who overcame an early double stack and might have wished for a few more laps to close the gap, the result puts him on top of the championship standings.

Jamie Whincup’s unfortunate day ended with him finishing 13th, giving his teammate a seven-point series lead.

Whincup and Paul Dumbrell were poised to challenge for their third Sandown crown together until the changeover of drivers.

Dumbrell slipped his arm out early from his seatbelt and was served a drive-through penalty.

Mark Winterbottom’s title fight was also hit by a mistake by co-driver Dean Canto, who produced an otherwise sterling drive.

Canto started 22nd but surged to fourth place by refusing wet tyres in the drizzle, only to slip off the track one lap before he was due to hand over to Winterbottom, who finished 24th.

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