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Disastrous start for Toll HRT

Speedcafe.com

Saturday 20th February, 2010 - 4:33pm

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Garth Tander's first race of 2010 will be one he'll wish to forget quickly

Garth Tander's first race of 2010 will be one he'll wish to forget quickly

‘Disaster’ was a common term used in the Toll Holden Racing Team garage after the first race of the 2010 V8 Supercars Championship Series at Yas Marina Circuit.

Garth Tander and Will Davison both finished down the back of the field, leaving the factory Holden team on the back foot early – while new Holden outfit TeamVodafone stormed away to a convincing one-two result.

Tander was the first to strike trouble. After qualifying second, he was disqualified from the session when one of the car’s air jacks sunk into a silicon-filled expansion joint in the concrete. The team couldn’t get the safety stand in there, so they got a trolley jack to pull the car out of the silicon gap – a measure deemed illegal by V8 Supercars officials.

The silicon-filled expansion joint that the air jack on Tander's car 'fell' into

The silicon-filled expansion joint that the air jack on Tander's car 'fell' into

Tander was forced to start the race from the back of the grid, and on lap two, tangled with Todd Kelly who had been shoved off the road by Paul Morris.

The West Australian driver said that the eventual damage to his car was solely due to the penalty.

“The penalty is obviously disappointing, given that the stewards have the option of imposing a disqualification from the session, or a $3000 fine,” he said.

“Without enquiry or without any checking any of the extenuation circumstances, they imposed a disqualification from the session. In my opinion, there was extenuating circumstances as to why we got the penalty.

“There was no dialogue or enquiry into the incident. It was what it was.

“The incident in the race was just a result of guys wanting to win the championship on Lap 2. I got turned around trying to get through the junk.”

For Davison, an engine failure while challenging for a podium place was his undoing.

It’s only the second mechanical DNF that Davison has experienced with the factory Holden team. At Queensland Raceway last year, a differential housing failure cost him points.

This failure, it seems, has cut Davison deeper.

“It let go suddenly. It’s something in the engine, and it let go a pretty good way,” he said.

“It sounded expensive. It’s a disaster, really.”

“We weren’t good enough to win, so when you’re struggling with your car, you’ve got to pick up the thirds, fourths and fifths. To have reliability issues here is pretty hard to take, but this happens to everyone – it’s just happened to us in the first race.

“Now, we’ve got to focus on the performance of the car and make it easier to drive, easier on its tyres to be able to take it to Triple Eight.”

Qualifying for today’s second race starts at 3.10pm, with the race of the year scheduled for 6.05pm.

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