A calculated strategy gamble has helped the Holden Racing Team to a stunning one-two finish in Race 21 of the V8 Supercars Championship in Townsville.
Garth Tander led home team-mate James Courtney to a form finish after a race that was thrown on its head by a Lap 9 Safety Car.
With the whole field having started on the hard tyres, the HRT Commodores were two of several to pit and opt for two stints home on softs.
Despite needing to recyle the softs it used on Saturday as part of the strategy, the HRT duo filtered to the front once the pitstop cycles were complete to run home unchallenged over the final 20 laps.
Not even a hefty side-on clout with the Turn 10 exit wall in the early laps of his second stint could stop Tander’s charge, which breaks a victory drought stretching back to Bathurst, 2011.
Shane van Gisbergen took third after running a similar hard-soft-soft strategy to the HRT and his Tekno team-mate Jonathon Webb. The second Tekno entry ran as high as fourth in the closing stages before fading to 12th.
Mark Winterbottom led the early laps from pole but, along with team-mate Will Davison, elected not to pit under the early Safety Car and was never a true contender thereafter.
Russell Ingall and Tony D’Alberto made it four Walkinshaw-built Holdens in the top six, while Craig Lowndes, Tim Slade, Scott McLaughlin and Will Davison completed the top 10.
Points leader Jamie Whincup too followed the conventional single-stop strategy and could do no better than 11th.
Lee Holdsworth’s IRWIN Mercedes was the only retirement after triggering the Safety Car by grinding to a halt with an engine problem on the run to Turn 11.
David Reynolds also endured a tough run, falling out of contention after dropping a cylinder while placed second to Winterbottom.
Whincup leaves Townsville with a reduced 111 points lead over team-mate Lowndes, with Davison and Winterbottom also in striking distance in third and fourth.
See below for the full Race 21 result
|1||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||01:30:04.1639||1:14.0127|
|2||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||01:30:04.4830||1:13.9505|
|3||TEKNO Team VIP||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||01:30:13.5491||1:13.9319|
|4||Pepsi Max Crew FPR Ford||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG||01:30:25.7667||1:14.3657|
|5||Supercheap Auto Racing||Russell Ingall||Holden Commodore VF||01:30:31.6601||1:14.1909|
|6||Team HIFLEX||Tony D’Alberto||Holden Commodore VF||01:30:31.9113||1:14.0973|
|7||Red Bull Racing Australia||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||01:30:32.5797||1:14.2647|
|8||Heavy Haulage Australia Racing||Tim Slade||Mercedes E63 AMG||01:30:34.2168||1:14.0378|
|9||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Scott McLaughlin||Holden Commodore VF||01:30:38.6971||1:14.4242|
|10||Pepsi Max Crew FPR Ford||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG||01:30:41.0017||1:14.3212|
|11||Red Bull Racing Australia||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||01:30:41.1436||1:14.3661|
|12||Tekno Autosports||Jonathon Webb||Holden Commodore VF||01:30:41.7028||1:14.4280|
|13||Wilson Security Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG||01:30:50.6356||1:14.3521|
|14||Norton 360 Racing||James Moffat||Nissan Altima||01:30:51.9295||1:14.4995|
|15||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||01:30:53.7465||1:14.4089|
|16||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VF||01:30:56.0802||1:14.3670|
|17||Lockwood Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Holden Commodore VF||01:30:56.7994||1:14.5728|
|18||Jeld-wen FPR Ford||Alex Davison||Ford Falcon FG||01:30:59.3225||1:14.2479|
|19||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Alexandre Premat||Holden Commodore VF||01:30:59.7491||1:14.4371|
|20||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||01:31:03.8867||1:14.5206|
|21||ekol Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore VF||01:31:04.1821||1:14.4103|
|22||Norton 360 Racing||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||01:31:12.7810||1:14.4376|
|23||Wilson Security Racing||Tim Blanchard||Ford Falcon FG||01:31:12.8491||1:14.3125|
|24||Dodo Insurance Racing||Dean Fiore||Holden Commodore VF||01:30:14.2590||1:14.6014|
|25||Wilson Security Racing||David Wall||Holden Commodore VF||01:30:41.8085||1:14.1332|
|26||The Bottle-O FPR Ford||David Reynolds||Ford Falcon FG||01:31:03.2834||1:15.4498|
|27||SP Tools Racing||Maro Engel||Mercedes E63 AMG||01:30:48.6833||1:16.2359|
|DNF||Irwin Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Mercedes E63 AMG||7:49.4783||1:15.9607|
See below for the updated points standings
|5||Shane Van Gisbergen||1310|