TO have all three cars on the podium at the Sandown 500 was a dream come true for Triple Eight Race Engineering, but the team isn’t letting the history-making moment distract from the true test: Bathurst.
The dominant Holden squad’s victory was led by Jamie Whincup and co-driver Paul Dumbrell, the experienced pairing finishing nearly seven seconds ahead of team-mates Shane van Gisbergen and Earl Bamber.
In their last Sandown outing together, Craig Lowndes and Steven Richards finished third to complete the podium.
Triple Eight’s incredible form across Sandown puts them in a great position for glory on Mount Panorama, however the team’s commercial operations person Jessica Dane, daughter of team owner Roland Dane, said that Bathurst will present its own challenges.
“Definitely it gives you confidence, but we are never ones to rest on our laurels,” she said.
“We know that what happened in the last race is absolutely no indicator of performance in the next race.
“We know that we can’t rest on laurels, we didn’t even have time to celebrate essentially. What everyone saw on TV at the podium was about as much celebrating as we did post-Sandown, because we knew that we’ve got a hard slog ahead to win Bathurst and to ultimately win the championship this year.
“So on one hand, yes, it gives us confidence, and it was fantastic to make history in that way that we did, but on the other hand we can’t rest on our laurels; we have to knuckle down and make sure we put everything into getting the best possible results at Bathurst, and hopefully that means a repeat of the Sandown podium.”
If Triple Eight has a repeat performance at the Mount, it would become the first team in history to have a clean sweep of the podium.
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The team’s last Bathurst victory came in 2015 with Lowndes and Richards.
There was no podium finish for Triple Eight last year, however van Gisbergan stood on the second step with then co-driver Alexandre Prémat in 2016.
Although his last Bathurst podium was in 2013, Whincup has been a serious contender more than once since, missing wins when he ran out of fuel on the last lap in 2014 and copped a 15-second post-race penalty in the dying minutes of 2016.
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