Tander wins and continues Sydney reign

Garth Tander stands on top of the Sydney Telstra 500 podium as the first-ever V8 race winner at the circuit. Mark Winterbottom (left) and Jason Bright (right) joined him

Garth Tander stands on top of the Sydney Telstra 500 podium as the first-ever V8 race winner at the circuit. Mark Winterbottom (left) and Jason Bright (right) joined him

It was a great day to be driving cars with the numbers ‘one’ and ‘two’ on the windows of V8 Supercars at the Sydney Telstra 500 today.

Toll Holden Racing Team’s Garth Tander (#2) took the inaugural victory, winning Race 25 of the championship from Mark Winterbottom (Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon) and Jason Bright (Fujitsu Falcon).

But it was the Jamie Whincup (#1) who took home the big trophy, wrapping up his second-consecutive V8 Supercar Championship Series with a race to spare.

Whincup finished fifth, enough to make him the first back-to-back V8 champ since Marcos Ambrose in 2003/04.

In amongst an action-packed Tander, who started from pole after almost being knocked out in the first qualifying session, was pleased to tick off his sixth win for the 2009.

“I’m absolutely ecstatic with the result,” he said.

“It’s the first 250km race I’ve ever won in V8 Supercar. Out of all the years I’ve gone to Adelaide, I’ve never won there before, so I’m very happy to get this one

“I had a few dramas in qualifying with red flags coming out and then the same character who held me up yesterday did a fantastic job today. He’s got a lot to learn that young one.

“In the race, the car was really good and we lost a bit of track position with the long fill, but we got it back with the short fill later in the race.”

Winterbottom secured second when Whincup made a small mistake, running wide and allowing ‘Frosty’ through for second, despite not having the race pace to challenge Tander.

“The car was not quick, but I kept it straight and kept running around,” he said.

“To get to the end on the podium at a track that has a lot of meaning seeing as I grew up just down the road, it’s been a good day We need to make the car quicker, but we’ve still got tomorrow.”

Bright made his first appearance on the podium since Bahrain 2006 – thanks in part to a great pit stop strategy.

“I am happy,” he said.

“I had good pace but couldn’t get past anyone. We did a short fill at the last pit stop and it paid off a lot better than I expected.”

Valvoline Cummins driver Lee Holdsworth was the man kicking himself the most post-race, throwing away a great chance at victory when he collected the wall while leading the race.

Holdsworth hit the wall at turn three, losing time before rejoining well down the order. In one of the best drives of the season, Holdworth stormed back to take fourth place, but rued his lost chance.

His team-mate Michael Caruso finished sixth ahead of Jason Bargwanna (Sprint Gas Commodore), Steven Richards (Castrol FPR Falcon), Rick Kelly (Jack Daniel’s Commodore) and Shane van Gisbergen (SP Tools Falcon).

Whincup’s championship rival Will Davison (Toll HRT Commodore) had a shocker, finishing in 15th after never threatening the leading group. A clash with Craig Lowndes summed up his race.

In the ‘Podium Gone Begging Department,’ Cameron McConville (WOW Racing Commodore) was set for a top three finish until he hit the wall at turn eight. Ditto Greg Murphy (Sprint Gas Commodore), although his podium chance was shot with a drive-through penalty for a pit lane infringement with McConville.

James Courtney (Jim Beam Falcon) can join McConville and Murphy in the hard-luck stakes when he copped a mechanical black flagged for his driver’s door which refused to shut.

While there was plenty of damage and controversy, heavy damage to cars was limited. Wilson Security Racing’s Michael Patrizi caused the first Safety Car period when he got wedged in the wall at turn eight on lap nine, while Paul Dumbrell smacked the rear of Dean Fiore’s Commodore.

Race 25 – V8 Supercar Championship Series

1. #2 Garth Tander
2. #5 Mark Winterbottom
3. #25 Jason Bright
4. #33 Lee Holdsworth
5. #1 Jamie Whincup
6. #34 Michael Caruso
7. #3 Jason Bargwanna
8. #6 Steven Richards
9. #15 Rick Kelly
10. #9 Shane Van Gisbergen
11. #55 Tony D’Alberto
12. #8 Jason Richards
13. #111 Fabian Coulthard
14. #7 Todd Kelly
15. #22 Will Davison
16. #39 Russell Ingall
17. #18 James Courtney
18. #24 David Reynolds
19. #888 Craig Lowndes
20. #4 Alex Davison
DNF. #67 Tim Slade
DNF. #11 Jack Perkins
DNF. #17 Steven Johnson
DNF. #51 Greg Murphy
DNF. #14 Cameron McConville
DNF. #12 Dean Fiore
DNF. #10 Paul Dumbrell
DNF. #333 Michael Patrizi
DNF. #16 Mark McNally

V8 Supercar Championship Series points

1. Jamie Whincup 3286
2. Will Davison 2954
3. Garth Tander 2916
4. Craig Lowndes 2592
5. Mark Winterbottom 2285
6. Steven Johnson 2177
7. Rick Kelly 2162
8. James Courtney 2042
9. Lee Holdsworth 2006
10. Russell Ingall 1928
11. Shane Van Gisbergen 1868
12. Michael Caruso 1839
13. Jason Richards 1756
14. Steven Richards 1720
15. Paul Dumbrell 1711
16. Todd Kelly 1624
17. Jason Bright 1607
18. Cameron McConville 1565
19. Alex Davison 1564
20. Fabian Coulthard 1554
21. Greg Murphy 1459
22. David Reynolds 1356
23. Tony D’Alberto 1196
24. Jason Bargwanna 1192
25. Tim Slade 1164
26. Jack Perkins 993
27. Michael Patrizi 851
28. Dean Fiore 668
29. Dale Wood 578
30. Mark McNally 512

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