After consigning his long serving Mustang to the scrap heap at Gold Coast, Chaz Mostert was keen to bounce back at Sandown 500. With the back-up chassis pressed into action, the Supercheap Auto Racing Team took the chance to pay tribute to racing legend Allan Moffat by unveiling a retro inspired Supercar livery for Sandown 500. With his son James Moffat co-driving with Mostert for the second year at Tickford Racing, he thought the tribute was great. “The nod to dad is pretty cool,” said James, adding that hopefully it’ll bring good luck and a podium finish as well.

While the Mustang showed pace in the first practice, the top five fastest laps were all set by the Holden Commodores and Nissan Altimas. Just 1/10th of a second separated the Supercheap Auto Mustang from Fabian’s Shell Racing one by the end of the practice session, placing 7th with a laptime of 1:08.3724.

On Friday’s practice, Mostert began to warm up to Sandown’s layout, finishing fourth fastest with a 1:08:0537, just slightly off eventual Supercar 2019 season winner Scott McLaughlin. The Commodores kept their pace, taking the top two fastest practice laptimes. With James Moffat on board for Practice 3, the Mustang was only able to improve slightly to a 1:08:0480, but other teams broke into the 1:07s, pushing the pair down to 8th place. It seems that the Mustang’s current setup could only do 1:08s consistently, as Chaz couldn’t finish better than 1:07.9530 on his last practice lap.

With the Top 10 shootout format changed to an all-out qualifying race, there was less pressure, but Mostert still couldn’t find the pace to match McLaughlin’s blistering time of 1:07.7736 on the track. McLaughlin locked in the top spot as the rain made the track truly damp and slippery for others. Mostert eventually ended up sixth, sandwiched between the Penrite Racing Commodores of Anton de Pasquale and David Reynolds, respectively. Mostert tried to hold his own, but the Holdens seemed to hold an advantage at Sandown, with three finishing ahead of him. This left Mostert in 9th place, taking 28 points for the Pirtek Enduro Cup. Based on the standing, Moffat and Mostert will be starting Sunday’s race 9th on the grid.

With the championship already decided, it was up to Mostert and Moffat to at least grind out a podium for the team. A stroke of luck went their way, when Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander’s Commodore suffered a suspension failure just 12 laps away from completing a 1-2 with Jamie Whincup/Craig Lowdnes. Thanks to van Gisbergen needing to pit to fix the issue, Mostert and Lee Holdsworth stood on the podium instead, finishing second and third respectively.

Mostert was absolutely relieved and pleased that he’s back to podium finishes, commenting “It’s been an absolute nightmare of an Enduro campaign for us, Bathurst and then Gold Coast, not even being able to race there. For me, the best part about today and getting a trophy right at the end here is more for Moff (James Moffat). He’s kind of been on the wrong end of the stick because of the accidents throughout the Enduro campaign with myself and teammates and qualifying laps, so today was awesome to be able to get a trophy for Moffat and thank him for the year.”

Mostert now has 2705 points, and is in 5th position going into the Coates Hire Newcastle 500, which will be the final race for 2019.

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