As Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes celebrated another Supercars success, their thoughts were with teammates Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander.
The Red Bull Holden Racing Team duo claimed Sunday’s Sandown 500 to secure the 2019 Endurance Cup as the best-performed pairing in this year’s three endurance events.
But it took a moment of misfortune for van Gisbergen to hand the pair the win.
Propelled from 24th to the front of the field after a stellar drive by Tander in the opening half of the race, van Gisbergen was charging towards a maiden Sandown crown when his right rear suspension failed.
The New Zealander limped the Commodore back to the pits but his hopes of victory were dashed, with Whincup leaping to the front for his third win from the past five Supercars races.
The seven-time drivers’ champion admitted it was a victory which brought mixed emotions.
“Commiserations to No.97 – they did a great job today,” Whincup said.
“But at the same time, we’ve been on the receiving end of the same thing plenty of times so we’ll certainly take it.”
Subdued celebrations were the order of the day at the 3.1km Melbourne circuit.
Ford’s Scott McLaughlin’s ninth-placed finish secured him back-to-back championships but a pre-race penalty for breaching engine regulations at Bathurst last month meant there was little cheering at the DJR Team Penske garage.
Whincup admitted the news of the penalty had affected the field before the race start.
“The news that came through about Penske’s engine this morning certainly distracted us,” Whincup said.
“We were reminiscing and thinking back on the biggest race of the year and what could have been, but we had to keep the focus to go out there and race hard.”