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Tander strikes the Supercar double

 

Reigning champion makes it two wins from two starts by taking victory in Race 2 at Hamilton today.

Reigning Australian V8 Supercar champion Garth Tander struck the double when he won the second heat of the Hamilton 400 this afternoon.

Tander, starting from pole after winning yesterday’s first heat, led today’s race virtually from start to finish.

The Holden Racing Team Commodore driver lost the lead only when he made his compulsory pitstop, but retained his relativity to his nearest rivals Rick Kelly (HSV Commodore) and Steven Richards.

When the whole field had cycled through its stops, Tander was back at the head of the field.

But during those stops, Kiwi sensation Shane Van Gisbergen (Ford Falcon) had several minutes of glory, leading his first-ever V8 Supercar race till he, too, made his pitstop.

Tander had won the startline drag race with Kelly, with Steven Richards (FPR Ford) and James Courtney (Stone Brothers Racing Falcon) slotting in behind the two Holdens.

In the compulsory pitstops, FPR got Richards back on to the track in front of Kelly.

Courtney and Todd Kelly (Jack Daniel’s Commodore) both got ahead of Kelly’s HSV Holden but Todd had a brush with the wall and finished 19th.

The race ran for 24 laps before there was a Safety Car period, bunching the field.

In the closing laps, Lee Holdsworth and Cameron McConville, both in Commodores, passed Rick Kelly.

Tander won, from Steven Richards and Courtney, followed by Holdsworth, McConville and Rick Kelly.

Greg Murphy’s day took a turn for the worse when he pitted with an apparent steering problem after clipping the final kerb in the chicane and going up on to two wheels.

Best-placed New Zealander during the early running was Fabian Coulthard in the Glenfords Falcon. He had finished seventh in heat one, and was running eighth, just ahead of FPR’s Mark Winterbottom in today’s race.

Winterbottom got past him mid-race, and held the advantage till the finish, coming home seventh, with Coulthard eighth.

Tasman Motorsport’s Jason Richards turned in an excellent drive in his Holden Commodore, working his way from 20th on the grid to finish 10th.

Van Gisbergen had been similarly effective, working his way steadily forward and had been running 12th, just behind Richards, when he slowed and pitted apparently after hitting the chicane.

The Stone Brothers team got him back on track, and he was classed as 26th finisher, six laps down and one place behind Murphy.

Kayne Scott drove the Team Kiwi Racing Falcon to 20th place.

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