Motorsport: Wet Melbourne hosts Sandown 500
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Mini-monsoon in Melbourne
Chaz Mostert will be among the many Supercars drivers doing anti-rain dances to end Melbourne’s mini-monsoon in time for the Sandown 500.
The Victorian capital will host the 500km classic at the end of one of its wettest weeks of the year.
Rain and Supercars don’t mix well - as this year’s Clipsal 500 showed - meaning team owners will be hoping for fine conditions during Saturday’s qualifying sessions and Sunday’s race. If not, Mostert said everyone could expect a wild ride.
“Hopefully it dries out by the weekend or we get some dry segments. If not it’s going to be a pretty hard weekend,” he said.
"You’ve got to learn to drive around it. Sandown does get pretty slippery in the wet ... there’s not much grip.”
The season-opening Clipsal 500 saw a thunderstorm on the brink of the green light, leading to calamitous scenes and a stunning race win by local Nick Percat.
Even if it doesn’t rain, new rules that dictate soft tyres must be used in dry weather will make for dramatic racing.
“We’re going to be quicker and the degradation will be higher ... that will bring in a lot more strategy,” Mostert said.
“The way (the tyres) tear up and marble across the race is pretty crazy.
“If you run off line you’re able to scoot off on marbles ... with 500 kilometres worth of marbles on the track, passing is going to be very, very hard.”
Steve Owen will partner the in-form Mostert through the Enduro Cup.
The 24-year-old has five top-five finishes from his last six races but says he’s too far back to make an unlikely run for the championship - even as the endurance races double the amount of points on offer each weekend.
“Trying for the championship is unrealistic with six guys in front of me and 300 points or so up the road,” he said.
“When you’ve got the consistency of (Jamie) Whincup and (Shane) van Gisbergen, whose bad days might be a fifth, it’s pretty hard. “And (Craig) Lowndesy who’s more consistent than ever and Frosty (Mark Winterbottom) who makes sure he finishes every race.
“But we’re still chipping away. Our goal is top five.
“If we surprise ourselves by going up further it’s been a great weekend.”