Honours were shared as S5000 kicked into high gear at Sandown Park, with a new race winner, lap record holder and pole-position starter.
Young guy James Golding won the 16-lap qualifying race on Sunday morning, John Martin lowered the record to 64.5533 seconds, and
Tim Macrow drove a canny contest to finish second on the road and claim pole for the 25-lap lap main event.
Matt Brabham was the early leader before throwing his car off the road at Dandenong Road corner when he locked the brakes, while
Ricky Capo was lucky to escape without damage after spinning in the pack during the early laps.
Rubens Barrichello stormed up to fourth place in a car that was repaired after contact in the inaugural S5000 contest on Saturday, as one of three drivers to lap in the 64-second bracket, and banked a second-row start for the feature.
“Unbelievable. I made an unreal start and I just nailed it,” Golding, a Supercars full-timer, reports after his win.
“I got up to second and I just kept the pressure on Brabham. I saw him lock up but then I was too busy with my own stuff.”
Macrow is the most experienced S5000 driver in the field and was solid in second, resisting any temptation for a lunge at the front to protect his pole slot.
“I just kept the pressure on Golding to see if he would make a mistake,” Macrow says.
But John Martin fired up with an around-the-outside move on Alex Davison at the end of the back straight that was the move of the race.
“I was trying not to make a mistake but then I though ‘Whatever, I’ve got to attack’,” Martin laughs.
For Barrichello, S5000 is giving the 47-year-old big thrills and challenges.
“The engine cut out at one stage and I lost drive. I didn’t have anything to prove, but why should I stop,” Barrichello says.
“I’m in love. We’ll see what we can do in the feature.”