First Ford. Now Holden in Townsville

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On Sunday it was the Red Lion of the mighty Holden Racing Team.

First it was Ford. Now it's Holden. The Blue Oval made its statement on Saturday. On Sunday it was the Red Lion of the mighty Holden Racing Team.

For the first time since 2009 HRT scored a 1-2 race finish to complete the Sucrogen Townsville 400. The only other constant appeared to be the struggles of Championship leader Jamie Whincup.

Tander survived a fierce hit on a concrete wall early in the race and endless breakages in Friday which forced the team to fly in new parts overnight. Courtney's form on softer tyre compound is well proven and he made the most of that.

The best single performance of the weekend came from VIP Petfood's Shane Van Gisbergen who placed third, coming from a staggering last position and making up 25 places.

Tander scored HRTs first win since 2009. The team has had multiple podiums and the odd Armor All Pole Position but not a win since 2011.

"I have been well reminded that 2011 was HRTs last race win so it's been good to quieten that down. I've been saying all along that HRT will wins races this year, it's just a matter of when," said Tander.

Tander's team pitted the earliest of all, a call that was in the end the race winner.

"The strategy all along was that if there was a safety car we would take it, even as early as lap one and do what we did. We had to put mixed tyres on which meant we had to manage them well yesterday but the car was very good on its tyres," he said.

"I still wasn't sure it was the right thing to do when we pitted and Frosty (Mark Winterbottom) pitted. From there it really looked after the tyres. I have never had a race car that good.

"I'm sure JC would have preferred it the other way but we both have pretty big smiles on our faces right now."

Courtney has suddenly found his form also.

"It's an amazing effort from everyone at HRT and our supporters. It has been a pretty dry spell which has been pretty tough but we knew it would come," Courtney said.

Van Gisbergen again proved his pedigree, almost adding a second race win this year to his tally.

"It was frustrating that we made up so many laps and then had to do it again. I thought we might have enough to make James push on a bit but the gap was just too big," he said.

Almost 150,000 people attended the event across the three days. Townsville was on display, with magnificent weather greeting the thousands who flocked into North Queensland for the weekend.

It was a wild start to the race with cars flying left right and centre behind the leaders. Wilson Security's rookie Chaz Mostert was superb when bullied by some of the veterans, standing his ground under fire and working his way through the field.

Whincup was in similar battled having started from 15th after another uncharacteristic poor qualifying performance while Lowndes was battling with a car that appeared to have very little balance. Lowndes came in for softs very early in the pace.

Winterbottom started on pole but Tander got the tyre and fuel strategy just right to win an absorbing battle and finally re-enter the winners' circle.

Half the field switched to the faster soft tyres after nine laps when Lee Holdsworth's Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG was left idle on the track following oil pressure problems and the safety car emerged.

Winterbottom lost the lead by the 22nd lap when he was swamped by the soft tyre brigade led by Tander. What followed next was an intriguing battle as teams juggled soft and hard tyres and fuel stop strategies.

The next event on the 2013 V8 Supercars calendar is the Coates Hire Ipswich 360, held at Queensland Raceway from July 26-28.

V8 Supercars

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Series V8SUPERCARS
Article type Race reports
Tags 400, blue oval, ford, holden, sucrogen townsville, townsville