ON TRACK: Mark Winterbottom on his way to winning the Sandown 500.
ON TRACK: Mark Winterbottom on his way to winning the Sandown 500. MARK HORSBURGHAAP

Sandown cruise for Ford boys

IT may have been a new format, but it was the same result for Ford stars Mark Winterbottom and Chaz Mostert at Sandown.

In the first Enduro Cup race of the season, it was Winterbottom who took the chequered flag from his Prodive Racing teammate to extend his lead in the 2015 V8 Supercars driver's championship.

Mostert was all over his teammate in the final laps, refusing to back off with every point crucial in the battle for the title.

Winterbottom said the car hadn't been perfect all day, but praised the effort by co-driver Steve Owen.

"That's awesome. Steve did a great job, the car was good in stints and bad in stints, but that's awesome," Winterbottom said.

Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen, in the lead until 30 laps to go, finished third after holding off Garth Tander.

Defending series champion Jamie Whincup, who was going for his third consecutive victory in the Sandown 500, had another day to forget.

In what may have signalled the death knell for his chances this year, Whincup and co-driver Paul Dumbrell finished well back in 16th place, leaving Whincup a massive 629 points off the lead.

POINTS: Mark Winterbottom 2215, Chaz Mostert 2017, Dave Reynolds 1855, Craig Lowndes 1792, Fabian Coulthard 1694.