The Holden Racing Team’s Garth Tander fought through the field to finish today’s 36-lap race at the Sydney Motorsport Park in fourth position.
Teammate James Courtney also finished inside the top 10 taking the chequered flag in a well earned sixth place.
The two practice sessions earlier today saw both HRT Commodores placed well within the top half of the field. However, qualifying did not deliver the desired results with Tander posting the 13 th quickest time at the conclusion of the 20-minute session; Courtney was a further two places behind in 15 th .
With the 140km sprint underway, both Tander and Courtney circulated with good pace and managed to gain valuable track position in the early part of the race. Having started on the soft compound control tyre, Courtney was called in to pit for hard tyres and fuel on lap 15 while Tander, having elected to run the opposite strategy, made his stop a short time after on lap 18.
After the shuffle of pitstops, both drivers found themselves inside the top 10 and set about chasing down the lead group. Well managed tyres, combined with a spirited final stint, saw both Tander and Courtney pick their way through the field to register a much needed double top 10 result for the Holden Racing Team.
Team Vodafone’s Craig Lowndes took the race win ahead of Ford Performance Racing’s Mark Winterbottom and Will Davison.
The Sydney Motorsport Park 360 continues tomorrow with the third practice session of the weekend followed by qualifying ahead of the longer 220km (56-lap) race which is set to kick off at 3:35pm.
Garth Tander, #2 Holden Racing Team Holden VE Commodore Series II:
“Qualifying did not go to plan earlier today and we found ourselves much lower down the order than we had hoped –we just couldn’t get enough speed out of the car on the soft tyre.
“That said, the car was very good in the first part of the race and we were able to gain quite a few places early on.
“We switched to softs pretty late in the race (18 laps to go) –we were one of the last cars to make the tyre change.
“We were then able to charge through from ninth to finish fourth so it’s turned out to be a pretty good day for us.”
James Courtney, #22 Holden Racing Team Holden VE Commodore Series II:
“It’s been a pretty good day for the Holden Racing Team. Qualifying was not what we had hoped for but we managed to race through the field and there is a bit a buzz around the place at the moment which is great.
“We had good pace on the hard tyre this afternoon and hopefully that will work to our advantage as we’ll be using two sets during tomorrow’s longer race.
“We still have work to do to catch the guys at the pointy end but we will have a look at a few areas of the car overnight and hope to pick up a bit more speed for tomorrow.”