On the 2.86km Reid Park, Townsville street circuit, Toll HRT’s Garth Tander, starting from fifth spot on the grid, won Saturday’s V8 Supercar race in with a faultless driving display and a victory which took him to third on the all-time personal race win table ahead of Holden 05 legend Peter Brock.
Tander, fresh from signing a new contract to drive for HRT for three more years, capped off a great few weeks following the birth of his first child. Tander finished ahead of championship leader Jamie Whincup who started in second position.
The Holden driver took control of the race going into the final 20 laps and was never challenged by a trailing Whincup, as he continued to victory.
The win was very important for the troubled works team as their results this year left much to be desired. Ford’s Will Davison held off a fast-finishing Craig Lowndes to claim third with teammate and pole holder Mark Winterbottom coming in fifth. Garth Tander’s teammate and defending series champion James Courtney’s horror year continued after a collision forced him to retire on lap 30.
The second race on Sunday was a different story for the drivers but the same for Holden as the Vodafone hero, Jamie moved another step closer to winning this year’s championship with victory in the final 200km race in Townsville.
Whincup overcame an eighth place start and having to pit early with worn tyres, guided his Commodore to his sixth victory for the season so far. Teammate Craig Lowndes, who started from pole and led for the early laps eventually surrendered his lead to Jamie Whincup. Saturday’s winner Garth Tander had to contend with 26th position as his car broke a rear suspension mount and spent substantial time being repaired in the pits.
Ford FPR’s Mark ‘Frosty’ Winterbottom finished third, leading home the Ford Falcons of Alex Davison fourth and New Zealander Shane van Gisbergen fifth. The next round of the championship is the Ipswich 300 at Queensland Raceway from August 19-21
In other developing news on the V8 Supercar front, ex HRT driver, Mark Skaife was confirmed as the chairman elect of the newly formed V8 Supercars commission.
Skaife, a six-time Bathurst winner and defending champion in this year’s event with co-driver Craig Lowndes, will start his new job after the Bathurst 1000 in October.
The seven-member commission has been established to act as an expert resource on racing rules, mechanical regulations and formats as the championship continues to grow to 18 rounds in the next couple of years. Other members of the Commission will be V8 Supercars chief executive Martin Whitaker, V8s chief operating officer Shane Howard, three race team representatives and an independent member, Chris Lambden.