Garth Tander has held off a late charge from Jamie Whincup to take victory in Race 2 of the BRC IMPCO V8 Supercars Challenge at Albert Park.
Tander made the best get-away at the start and beat yesterday’s race winner James Courtney to the first corner. The Toll Holden Racing Team driver proceeded to lead every lap of the race, but not without a late challenge from TeamVodafone’s Jamie Whincup, who clawed his way from fifth to second by race’s end.
The race was held in mostly dry conditions, although a few sprinkles of rain ensured the drivers were kept wide eyed.
While it was a go-to-whoa win, Tander admitted that the race was anything but a cruise.
“It was pretty tough. The rain was coming and going and you didn’t really know how hard to brake in any of the braking zones,” he said.
“When you’re the lead car, the guys behind can judge by your car behaviour on where they’re going to brake.”
Tander was happy with the performance of his factory Commodore.
“The car was very, very good,” he said.
“It looked after its tyres a bit better than yesterday. We made a change to the car that was pretty big and it worked in some parts of the race, and then late in the race, the car went off quite a bit in the last two laps. We’ll make another change tomorrow, but it’s good to get the win – with the weather the way it was though, it was tough.”
Whincup chased down Tander, but couldn’t get close enough to offer a genuine challenge.
“I had a good race. I had a good time out there,” he said.
“I didn’t get the best start – Frosty (Mark Winterbottom) came from 10th and beat me into turn one. I started fifth – he must have got a rocket! It was all happening at turn one, everyone’s going really hard surprisingly.
“The car was really good and was able to come on through. I thought it was going to rain, we were ready for rain but it didn’t come.”
Behind the leading Holden pair was a hard scrap between Courtney and SP Tools driver Shane van Gisbergen. The pair diced hard for the majority of the race before van Gisbergen tried a desperate move around the outside of turn 15 which saw him do some lawn mowing on the exit.
Courtney was happy with third, but found the set-up change that the Jim Beam team made wasn’t the right way to go.
“The changes we made for the run weren’t positive, so we won’t do that again,” he said.
“We didn’t get a bad start, but Garth just got quite a good one.
“(Shane and I) had a duel for a while but I managed to get past him. My car deteriorated quite a bit. I saw Jamie coming and he got past pretty easy, so I just held on for the end.”
Orrcon Steel FPR’s Winterbottom was fifth ahead of Will Davison (Toll HRT), Steven Johnson (Jim Beam), Craig Lowndes (TeamVodafone) and Paul Dumbrell (The Bottle-O) who was hung out to the grass at the first turn of the race.
Rounding out the top 10 was Fujitsu Racing’s Lee Holdsworth.
The final V8 Supercars race for the weekend will be run at 2.20pm.