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Tander tops first race of the Townsville 400

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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
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