Canto and Holdsworth bring home top six result from Sandown
Garry Rogers Motorsport has finished in sixth spot for the second consecutive round in a row after Dean Canto and Lee Holdsworth took the team's #34 Repco Valvoline Cummins Commodore to sixth place in the Sandown 500 in Melbourne.
The duo, who qualified 11th for the 500-kilometre endurance classic after Canto had a problematic qualifying session, drove a steady and controlled race to finish up the last car on the lead lap.
Canto started the race and settled in the back part of the top 10 before handing over to Holdsworth in a well-timed pit stop that gained the team further positions.
The former stepped back in for the last stint to the chequered flag and actually sat in fifth spot, but couldn't do much to stop the flying Falcon of Craig Lowndes from taking the spot on lap 127 of 161.
Nevertheless it was a strong day for GRM and it bodes well for the biggest race of the year - the Bathurst 1000 - in just under five weeks' time.
"We're happy to get a decent result," said Canto of his best finish of the year.
"We lost some time under the last Safety Car period and that allowed Lowndes to close right up. The outright pace to fight for more spots just wasn't quite there with our car and had things all gone our way we could have come home fourth.
"Lee did a great job in his stint. There was a moment as the cars slowed down under the Safety Car where he narrowly missed running into the car in front of him but then got hit from one of the BOC Falcons from behind.
"The wing of the BOC car hit our car's wing and bent the boot lid up - so that gave us more drag down the straights because of the air flow and slowed us down a little in the final sprint to the finish.
"In qualifying I had a little lock up into turn one and I didn't want to damage the tyre so I ran off the road and through the grass. Unfortunately I found an uneven part of the scenery and it split the gearbox oil cooler and sprayed oil everywhere.
"Luckily the guys sorted the problem but that only left us with seven or so minutes to lock down a time."
The team's #33 Commodore, driven by Greg Ritter and Phil Scifleet, qualified 19th in Ritter's hands and eventually came home in 20th spot, four laps down on the winning Falcon of Jason Bright and Mark Winterbottom.
Ritter started the race and settled on the fringe of the top 10 in the early stages in his first V8 Supercar race since the Gold Coast Indy event last October.
Scifleet stepped aboard for the second stint but had a spin entering the back straight on lap 58 that damaged the front spoiler and eventually wore a hole through the undertray. A few other offs also delayed the #33 machine during his stint.
The car pushed on until the end of the race to at least score some points for GRM in the Team's Championship.
"My ear piece fell out during the first stint and it took me five or six laps to get it back in, but apart from that we were moving along really nicely in the first stint," said Ritter.
"Phil's spin and a few other off-track excursions cost us a lap or two and then we lost more time replacing the front spoiler, so the day slowly but surely turned to muck after what had been a really good start."