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Tander takes Toll in Queensland

 

Australian V8 Supercar Championship leader Garth Tander blitzed the Ford teams on their home ground to record his first round win of the 2006 season and stretch his title lead in the BigPond 400 at Queensland Raceway last weekend.

The Toll HSV Dealer Team Holden Commodore driver led Ford Falcon pilots Jason Bright and Craig Lowndes to victory to become the first Holden driver since 2000 to take the top step of the podium at Queensland Raceway – the scene of his first career round win in 1999.

A great one-two finish for Tander and teammate Rick Kelly in Race 3 capped a superb weekend for the team.

Kelly came fourth for the round – his best finish at Queensland Raceway – and maintained his third place in the championship.

Tander won two of the weekend’s three races from pole position and came second in the reverse-grid heat by making up 27 places from the back of the field in his comprehensive round victory.

He also boosted his championship lead over rival Lowndes to 38 points. Kelly remains third on points.

Tander set up his success with a solid win from pole position in Saturday’s Race 1 and then a stirring charge through the field from 29th to second in the reverse-grid Race 2.

He came within a few car lengths of becoming the first-ever Race 1 winner to back up with a victory in a reverse grid race, only being denied by Holden Racing Team’s Mark Skaife, who started from 10th place.

Tander and Kelly passed Lowndes twice on his home circuit in Race 2, once early in the heat and then again after the compulsory pitstop.

Kelly rose from 23rd place on the grid to fourth in Race 2.

Starting from pole in Race 3, Tander ran away from Lowndes at the rate of one second.
His speed and the team’s fastest pitstop of the weekend allowed him to rejoin well in the lead. He was joined in the top three by Kelly, who also made up several places with a great tyre change.

Tander and Kelly moved into first and second place when James Courtney pitted with a mechanical problem in his Ford.

“We put in a lot of work between Darwin The previous round), and the car was fantastic all weekend,” Tander said. “We couldn’t be happier (although) it has been a reasonably long time coming. Our car was very strong under brakes and was generally far above what we had been expecting.” 


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