April 22, 2007, 1.30pm. Garth Tander overcame two restarts after Safety Car periods to score his fifth successive Australian V8 Supercar win and take the championship lead in Race 2 at Pukekohe today.
The Toll HSV Holden Commodore driver started from pole, and held the lead for most of the distance. He had opened a massive six-second lead after the compulsory pitstop before having it cancelled when the Safety Car came out.
Both times he drew away at the restart to set himself up to score his second hat trick of race victories - if he can win the third Pukekohe race - in the past two V8 Supercar rounds.
He won the start, but was outbraked by Jamie Whincup (Ford Falcon) at the hairpin. Tander crossed the line at the end of lap one right on Whincup’s hammer.
Mark Winterbottom ran third in the FPR Orrcon Falcon.
Tander got past Whincup’s Vodafone car at the hairpin on lap two, and that almost was that.
He lost the lead during the pitstop shuffle when the FPR team got Winterbottom out of the pits first.
But the Ford driver’s lead was short-lived. He outbraked himself at the hairpin, sliding off in a cloud of tyre smoke, and Tander was back in the lead.
Winterbottom pitted to replace a shredded tyre, and dropped out of contention. He eventually finished 23rd.
Tander built a six-second lead over Whincup, only to see it vanish when a Safety Car period was declared when Jason Richards slid off the track and the hairpin and hit the tyre barrier.
Richards, driving the MTA Commodore, had been running seventh and was now out of the race.
His retirement dropped one Kiwi out of the top 10, and elevated another, Paul Radisich, to 10th place in the Team Kiwi Racing Falcon.
Greg Murphy was running 12th in the second MTA Holden, and got ahead of Max Wilson’s Falcon to finish 11th, behind Radisich.
Tander won the restart, and another after Jason Bargwanna parked his WPS Falcon in the barrier at the top of the hill.
Tander went on to win by seven-tenths of a second from Whincup, Rick Kelly in the second Toll HSV Holden and Todd Kelly in the Holden Racing Team #22 Commodore.
James Courtney was fifth in the Jeld-Wen Falcon, followed by HRT team leader Mark Skaife, Craig Lowndes (Vodafone Ford), Will Davison (Jim Beam Falcon), and Russell Ingall (Caltex Falcon).
The third New Zealander home was Fabian Coulthard, 20th in the Sirromet Commodore.
NZ-born Steven Richards was 18th in the second FPR Falcon after being punted off the track in the Esses on lap one, and having another off-track excursion later in the race.