Garth Tander has returned to winning form by taking his (and the Holden Racing Team’s) first win since March’s Clipsal 500, after the Western Australian won the opening race of this weekend’s Sucrogen 400 on the streets of Townsville.
The former V8 Supercars champion is the only driver to have finished on the podium in every race he has started at Townsville, and he finally took to the top step of the podium after electing to pit early and undercut his rivals to gain track position.
With this 72-lap event being another in which the teams would have to use the hard and soft-compound Dunlop control tyres during the race, David Reynolds and Paul Dumbrell found themselves quickly climbing to the front of the race after being the only two in the 28-car field to start the race on the softer tyres.
But when Tander made his first pit stop and everyone elected to go onto the harder compound tyres for the middle stint of the race, Reynolds and Dumbrell found themselves quickly overhauled as Tander swept through into the lead.
Sadly for Reynolds, his impressive run would come to nought when he clashed with the luckless James Courtney trying to lap the defending champion, and his race would go completely pear-shaped when he lost plenty of laps as he pitted with an alternator issue.
The race settled down as it wore on, and championship leader Jamie Whincup found himself in a secure second place in the latter stages of the race, unable to make much of an inroad into Tander’s race lead.
Will Davison made a welcome return to the podium with a fine drive to third (matching his impressive qualifying performance), staging a late defence against a charge from Whincup’s team-mate Craig Lowndes in the closing laps of the race.
Pole-sitter Mark Winterbottom was unable yet again to convert his single-lap pace into a much-needed first win of the season, and he finished in fifth place after losing ground during the pit stops.
V8 Supercars Sucrogen Townsville 400 Final Classification (Race 1 – 72 laps):
|Driver||Entry / Team||Result|
|1.||Garth Tander||TOLL / Holden Racing Team||1:31:22.6745|
|2.||Jamie Whincup||Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Race Engineering||+ 3.3141|
|3.||Will Davison||Trading Post / Ford Performance Racing||+ 12.8252|
|4.||Craig Lowndes||Team Vodafone / Triple 8 Race Engineering||+ 13.2325|
|5.||Mark Winterbottom||Orrcon Steel / Ford Performance Racing||+ 15.6250|
|6.||Lee Holdsworth||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 17.5919|
|7.||Rick Kelly||Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing||+ 23.8718|
|8.||Steve Owen||VIP Petfoods / Paul Morris Motorsport||+ 31.7026|
|9.||Jason Bright||Team BOC / Brad Jones Racing||+ 35.2995|
|10.||Russell Ingall||Supercheap Auto / Paul Morris Motorsport||+ 35.8311|
|11.||Shane van Gisbergen||SP Tools / Stone Brothers Racing||+ 39.6310|
|12.||Paul Dumbrell||The Bottle-O Racing Team / Rod Nash||+ 41.6428|
|13.||Steven Johnson||Jim Beam / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 44.2696|
|14.||Todd Kelly||Jack Daniel’s / Kelly Racing||+ 47.1716|
|15.||Fabian Coulthard||Bundaberg / Walkinsaw Racing||+ 49.7466|
|16.||Michael Caruso||Fujitsu Racing / Garry Rogers Motorsport||+ 1:02.0829|
|17.||James Moffat||Jim Beam / Dick Johnson Racing||+ 1:03.2086|
|18.||Tony D’Alberto||Wilson Security / Tony D’Alberto Racing||+ 1 lap|
|19.||Greg Murphy||Pepsi Max Crew / Kelly Racing||+ 1 lap|
|20.||Dean Fiore||Triple F Racing||+ 1 lap|
|21.||Jonathon Webb||Mother Energy Racing Team / Tekno||+ 1 lap|
|22.||Karl Reindler||Fair Dinkum Sheds / Brad Jones Racing||+ 2 laps|
|23.||Jason Bargwanna||Jana Living / Brad Jones Racing||+ 8 laps|
|24.||David Reynolds||Stratco Racing / Kelly Racing||+ 10 laps|
|25.||Tim Slade||Lucky 7 / Stone Brothers Racing||+ 14 laps|
|26.||Alex Davison||Irwin / Stone Brothers Racing||+ 15 laps|
|DNF.||Warren Luff||Gulf Western Oil Racing / Lucas Dumbrell||62 laps|
|DNF.||James Courtney||TOLL / Holden Racing Team||30 laps|
[Image via Holden Racing Team]