Toll Holden Racing Team's Garth Tander has won the opening race of the Sucrogen Townsville 400, putting his dismal results last time out at Hidden Valley behind him. The victory, his 49th career win, lifts him above the great Peter Brock and into third on the all-time race winner’s list.
Tander had started from fifth on the grid, but worked his way to the front, taking the lead on lap 35 after a great surge in the middle of the 200km race. Despite calls for a penalty after he clipped the pit-lane entry marker in his final stop, the 34-year old pulled away to a comfortable win, holding off championship leader Team Vodafone's Jamie Whincup at the Reid Park street circuit in Queensland.
“Everyone wrote us off after Darwin and said we were done, but the team just kept believing. They gave me a great car today and this is just awesome,” said Tander.
Trading Post Racing's Will Davison held off a late race charge from Craig Lowndes to claim the final place on the podium, with team-mate and pole-sitter Orrcon Steel Ford Performance Racing's Mark Winterbottom coming in fifth. Winterbottom had become the first driver to secure four consecutive pole positions since Mark Skaife in 1998, but struggled in the final stint of the race with all the lead cars on the soft-options tyres.
Fujitsu Racing's Lee Holdsworth, who had set a new lap record before tyre degradation took its toll finished sixth. He was followed home by Jack Daniel's Racing's Rick Kelly and VIP Petfoods Racing's Steve Owen. Having started from 21st, Team BOC's Jason Bright put in the drive of the day to snare ninth. And rounding out the top ten with a fantastic drive from 18th was Supercheap Auto Racing's Russell Ingall.
It was a different story for Tander's team-mate James Courtney though. The defending series champion’s dismal year continued after a collision with early race leader Stratco Racing's David Reynolds.
Reynolds, in one of the only two cars starting on soft-tyres, had stormed through from eighth into first by lap six, to lead the race for the next 24 laps. But the lengthy stint saw his tyre performance drop off quickly and on his in-lap he made heavy contact with the lapped car of Courtney. Both pitted, but Courtney was force to retire with steering damage. Reynolds, meanwhile pitted with alternator problems that had left him without a cool suit for most of the race. He eventually finished 24th.
The Townsville 400 concludes with the second 200km race on Sunday.
Race 14 results:
|Pos||Entrant||Driver||Vehicle||Fastest Lap||Fastest Lap Time||Race Time||Laps|
|1||Toll Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Commodore VE||23||01:13:6762||01:31:22:6745||72|
|2||TeamVodafone||Jamie Whincup||Commodore VE2||69||01:13:9346||01:31:25:9886||72|
|3||Trading Post FPR Falcon||Will Davison||Falcon FG||53||01:14:1243||01:31:35:4997||72|
|4||TeamVodafone||Craig Lowndes||Commodore VE2||54||01:13:5553||01:31:35:9070||72|
|5||Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon||Mark Winterbottom||Falcon FG||54||01:13:8619||01:31:38:2995||72|
|6||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Lee Holdsworth||Commodore VE2||53||01:13:4160||01:31:40:2664||72|
|7||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Rick Kelly||Commodore VE2||56||01:13:6684||01:31:46:5463||72|
|8||VIP Petfoods||Steve Owen||Commodore VE2||60||01:14:0482||01:31:54:3771||72|
|9||Team Boc||Jason Bright||Commodore VE2||53||01:13:4516||01:31:57:9740||72|
|10||Supercheap Auto Racing||Russell Ingall||Commodore VE2||51||01:13:9640||01:31:58:5056||72|
|11||SP Tools Racing||Shane van Gisbergen||Falcon FG||60||01:13:9658||01:32:02:3055||72|
|12||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Paul Dumbrell||Falcon FG||47||01:13:6034||01:32:04:3173||72|
|13||Jim Beam Racing||Steven Johnson||Falcon FG||55||01:13:9464||01:32:06:9441||72|
|14||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Todd Kelly||Commodore VE2||55||01:13:8305||01:32:09:8461||72|
|15||Bundaberg Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Commodore VE2||51||01:13:6802||01:32:12:4211||72|
|16||Fujitsu Racing GRM||Michael Caruso||Commodore VE2||49||01:14:1059||01:32:24:7574||72|
|17||Jim Beam Racing||James Moffat||Falcon FG||54||01:14:1490||01:32:25:8831||72|
|18||Wilson Security Racing||Tony D’Alberto||Falcon FG||55||01:14:1302||01:31:28:9201||71|
|19||Pepsi Max Crew||Greg Murphy||Commodore VE2||59||01:13:9068||01:31:29:2496||71|
|20||R and T Pumps||Dean Fiore||Falcon FG||55||01:14:6111||01:31:48:8813||71|
|21||Mother Energy Racing Team||Jonathon Webb||Falcon FG||27||01:14:3509||01:32:05:6463||71|
|22||Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing||Karl Reindler||Commodore VE2||28||01:15:0855||01:31:54:1430||70|
|23||Jana Living Racing||Jason Bargwanna||Commodore VE2||4||01:15:1087||01:31:48:5327||64|
|24||Stratco Racing||David Reynolds||Commodore VE2||6||01:13:7753||01:32:18:3113||62|
|25||Lucky 7 Racing||Tim Slade||Falcon FG||10||01:14:6166||01:31:49:3873||58|
|26||Irwin Racing||Alex Davison||Falcon FG||34||01:14:8864||01:32:38:4217||57|
|DNF||Gulf Western Oil Racing||Warren Luff||Commodore VE2||52||01:14:4836||01:20:54:6606||62|
|DNF||Toll Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Commodore VE2||18||01:14:5169||01:01:34:0400||30|