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Toll HSV Holden Commodore driver Garth Tander has taken the lead in the Australian V8 Supercar Championship after scoring a clean sweep of victories.

Tander won all three races at Queensland Raceway last weekend to take the championship lead from team-mate Rick Kelly who suffered from a pitlane penalty in Race 2.

Tander won the Queensland from Team Vodafone Ford Falcon team-mates, Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes.

Tander reiterated his concerns about getting through the major endurance races of Sandown and the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 before he starts looking at a maiden championship.

“I was leading at this stage last year and it all turned pear-shaped in October,” he said.

“I’m happy to be leading the championship but I’m not worried about points gaps or points relative to each other until we finish Bathurst.”

Tander said his Queensland trio of wins wasn’t plain sailing. That was best demonstrated with the battle of the weekend which he and Mark Skaife (HRT Commodore) fought in the second race.

Tander set up the victory by following up his dominance in Saturday’s race, again being helped by a pitstop disaster for Skaife.

The battle up to that point was incredible as Tander and Skaife bashed and barged each other like prize fighters.

“It was certainly a tough weekend,” Tander said. “A lot of people have said to me that it looked easy out there but that was far from the truth.

“We felt we were going to be strong here after last year, although we were going to be given a good run by the Queensland teams [teams that nominate the Queensland track as their test circuit].

“It was on for young and old for the first couple of laps there and then he had slow pitstop or something like that.

It was disappointing we couldn’t get through on the track but we got it done in the pits.”

Skaife’s cross-threaded wheel nut was the start of a chaotic few minutes in Race 2 when Championship leader Kelly effectively had his weekend stopped when he came out in front of Jason Richards, and made contact.

“We made a big mistake and paid for it,” said Kelly.

That led to an automatic drive-through penalty which pushed him to the back of the field.

He came in again later with a problem that meant he had no chance of making up ground.
The same pitlane period added another magical moment when Whincup came out, squeezing Tander at the first corner.

But Tander’s raw pace restored order soon after when he passed Whincup. From there it was catch me if you can.

“We go away from the weekend with a pole and a second and third. We will do a little bit more homework and see if we can catch Garth,” Whincup said.

“What tends to happen sometimes is you get caught in your comfort zone and the track changes completely at a race weekend. You don’t always have an advantage at your home track.”

The championship now heads to Oran Park in three weeks’ time.

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