Sandown 500 Highlights: V8 Supercars live blog

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    The Supercars championship shifts into endurance mode, as the Enduro Cup mini-championship kicks off with the Sandown 500. Join The Roar for a live blog from 1pm AEST.

    As the historic precursor to the legendary Bathurst 1000, Sandown endurance spectacle provides the championship with a form guide – with which in this tight title fight will be crucial.

    Located in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, the Sandown Raceway is a 3.1km circuit boasting a fast layout, with the addition of critical low-speed corners.

    Completing the 500km race equates to 161 laps of Sandown, unless of course there is a time certain finish – which as seen in 2016 with the chaos caused by weather, is entirely possible.

    Weather in any endurance race is a critical aspect, though after rain in the early part of the weekend, the forecast for Sunday is looking clear.

    Endurance racing opens up the margins for errors, with pit-stop precision far more crucial in winning the race. Each driver must complete a minimum of 54 laps in the car, with the race strategy being dictated by the number of safety car appearances.

    Following a traditional qualifying session and two sprint races to determine the grid, pole position was snared by the combination of Cam Waters and Richie Stanaway – following a sensational start from the former in the second sprint for the grid.

    Waters will be joined on the front-row by rival Ford driver and championship leader Scott McLaughlin, whilst David Reynolds puts the #9 Erebus entry in third and ahead of the Red Bull Holden driven by Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell.

    A horrifying crash in the first qualifying race saw the elimination of Todd Hazelwood, who is pairing with Tim Blanchard in the Team Cooldrive Holden. Having been torpedoed by reigning Bathurst 1000 champion Jonathon Webb in the Tekno car, it remains to be seen if either #4 or #19 entries will be able to contest the race.

    Reigning series champion Shane van Gisbergen finds himself out of position in nineteenth, after a spin for his young co-driver Matt Campbell in the first qualifying race cost the pair a top ten start.

    With 300-points on offer for the win, the championship contenders will be eyeing the maximum result from the Sandown 500.

    Sandown has always provided many twists in the championship picture, so be sure to tune into The Roar’s live blog coverage of the 500 from 1pm AEST, as the season of endurance commences.