Toll HSV driver Garth Tander will start from the second row in Race 1 of the Clipsal 500 but teammate and defending champion Rick Kelly had a day from hell.
March 2, 2007, 8.45pm. Garth Tander is the fastest Holden qualifier for tomorrow’s first race in the 2007 Australian V8 Supercar championship.
He has gridded the new Toll HSV team Commodore VE third, behind the all-Ford Falcon front row of James Courtney and Jamie Whincup.
Tander lapped the street circuit in 1m 22.54s.
“Today was the first chance we’ve had to run greens (new tyres) on the VE Commodore, so to be in the top three, we’re really happy with that,” Tander said.
“The car is probably not as nice as we’d like it as a qualifying car, but we gave it a run this morning in practice on the used practice tyres, and we did a low 23, so we’re pretty confident it is going to be a better race car.
“We’re learning on the run, and tomorrow we go into the unknown by running a race distance for the first time in the VE. It should be the same as the VZ, but you don’t know until the heat of battle.”
His teammate, defending champion Rick Kelly, will start 15th place after battling teething problems in his new VE.
A sticking throttle forced him to sit out part of this morning’s practice session as the team made repairs. Kelly and the crew played catch-up for the rest of the day.
An adjustment to the car’s set-up just before qualifying didn’t pay off, and Kelly had to use up two of his precious sets of new “green” tyres to make the second leg of qualifying.
His final qualifying time, 1m 23.07s, was only a few tenths off top-10 pace, and Kelly is confident that overnight tweaks will have the #1 Commodore better sorted for the first 250km race.
“We had a bit of a bugger of a day,” Kelly said. “We had a list of problems we had to deal with. And unfortunately we made a few changes before the qualifying, and it didn’t work for us in the first session. So unfortunately from the word go we had to run two sets of tyres in qualifying one, and we made another mistake in tyre strategy in qualifying two which pretty much stopped us in our tracks.”