Sandown: Holden Racing Saturday report

Tander snares second consecutive Sandown 500 pole position V8 rookie Briscoe stuns with provisional quickest time The Holden Racing Team will start from pole position for tomorrow's Sandown 500 endurance classic in Melbourne after Garth Tander...

Tander snares second consecutive Sandown 500 pole position

V8 rookie Briscoe stuns with provisional quickest time

The Holden Racing Team will start from pole position for tomorrow's Sandown 500 endurance classic in Melbourne after Garth Tander set a blistering lap in today's Top 10 Shootout.

The pole-sitter for last year's race at Sandown, Tander was upstaged in provisional qualifying by HRT team-mate Ryan Briscoe, who stunned the V8 Supercar establishment and beat Tander by 0.01s to provisional pole.

But the 2000 Bathurst champion proved his mettle in the pressure-cooker environment of the single lap shootout, racing to a 1m10.6102s lap, a whopping 0.73s faster than second-place man Craig Lowndes.

The time is a new V8 Supercar qualifying record at Sandown, eclipsing Marcos Ambrose's 1m10.6715s lap from last year, and it's Tander's third pole of the 2006 championship.

He and partner Mark Skaife will start the #2 HRT Commodore from the pole position when the race begins at 1pm EST tomorrow, while team-mates Briscoe and Jim Richards will line up ninth after a sparkling day for the #22 Holden.

Briscoe surprised even himself after clocking a 1m10.8590s in the first qualifying session, a time good enough to hang onto the fastest time even after the 'guns' of the field qualified in the second group.

He played things conservatively in the Top 10 Shootout and clocked a 1m11.7804s lap, still good enough for seventh quickest and a fine 59th birthday present for partner Richards.

However, as a result of the Briscoe/Richards car completing one too many laps in yesterday's practice sessions, the #22 Commodore will be relegated two positions on the grid and will line up ninth.

This weekend's Sandown 500 is Briscoe's first-ever race in a front-engined car and his debut in a V8 Supercar.

Tomorrow's 500-kilometre endurance classic is the 39th running of the Sandown event, which is the warm-up for the Bathurst 1000, to be run in five weeks time at Mount Panorama.

HRT QUOTEBOOK

Garth Tander (#2 Holden Racing Team Commodore VZ)
"The Shootout lap was really similar to the one here last year, where everything just worked well. We were a little concerned we weren't going to get the temperature into the tyres that we needed because in qualifying I'd been doing my time on the second or third laps. Once I got through turn one I knew the tyres were where they needed to be and I could push on. We did a lap at the end of the qualifying session that was a few tenths faster but I braked a little too late into the last corner and ran wide. Who starts the race tomorrow depends on the weather so we'll play it by ear."

Mark Skaife (#2 Holden Racing Team Commodore VZ)
"It's the easiest pole position I've had, that's for sure! It was a fantastic lap by Garth - very accurate. To do a job like that was a great effort. And I have to say Ryan did a great job as well. I don't remember anyone ever at Sandown, as a rookie to this series, be on provisional pole. It's been a very good day for HRT."

Jim Richards (#22 Holden Racing Team Commodore VZ)
"Today was fantastic. Ryan did a great job in qualifying and to be honest it is probably best that we aren't on the front row for the race as we are both a little inexperienced at starting there. I am really looking forward to it - should be good."

Ryan Briscoe (#22 Holden Racing Team Commodore VZ)
"Jim didn't look too happy this morning with everyone wishing him happy birthday. I don't know if 59 is the most exciting of birthdays! In practice he's been strong and it's pretty special to team up with him this weekend. I didn't expect to be going this well. There's been a few key points I've been working on around the circuit. I surprised myself with topping the times in qualifying, that's for sure."

Rob Starr (Team Manager, Holden Racing Team)
"Obviously with pole position we couldn't be any happier than that. Both cars are going well and the drivers are all pretty comfortable. Ryan has done an amazing job in car 22. To be a rookie and be the fastest in qualifying, then back it up with a good job in the shoot out, what more could we ask? So it is all looking good so far."

-credit: holden racing

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Garth Tander , Marcos Ambrose , Ryan Briscoe , Jim Richards , Mark Skaife , Craig Lowndes
Teams Holden Racing Team