Tander takes advantage of Courtney's indiscretion to win race one
Garth Tander and Cameron McConville in the Toll Holden Racing Team managed to survive the carnage of the opening lap of the Gold Coast 600 to take the first race of the weekend.
The streets of Surfers Paradise were not kind to some of the international drivers, many of whom started the race. Ford Performance Racing's Luke Youlden was the first casualty after hitting the wall on pit straight, with a number of other drivers contacting and former F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve spun at the new hairpin causing a multi car pile up involving ten cars.
Will Power in the Dunlop Super Dealer Ford who collided with Villeneuve limped along the back straight and his race was over.
This brought out the first safety car of the afternoon and allowed several teams to pit and patch up their machines with 103 laps to the finish. Villeneuve's Bottle O Ford and Russell Ingall's Supercheap Auto Holden were the worst for wear and looked as if they were ready for the scrap heap.
McConville who started the race from pole suffered a black flag for allegedly jumping the start and fought back through the filed before handing over to Tander, who later had plenty of praise for his co-driver. "He set this win up for us".
Tander also had his own issues throughout his stint when the left light fell off and the front splitter dragged on the ground. Team Vodafone boss Roland Dane raced to speak to V8 Supercar officials about the incident, perhaps hoping for a black flag, but that wasn't to be and Craig Lowndes battled on in 3rd spot after his partner Andy Priaulx handed over the wheel.
Jamie Whincup in the sister Team Vodafone Holden got caught up in pit lane behind Lowndes after the second safety car and if this wasn't enough Michael Caruso in the Fujitsu Holden clipped his Whincup's tyres on pit lane which had the team scrambling to recover them. The lost time left Whincup in 10th when he re-joined the field.
Series leader James Courtney paid the ultimate penalty when leading the race with 10 laps from the chequered flag he was given a drive through penalty for not maintaining a "constant" speed behind the last safety car. Courtney couldn't believe it and it left him gutted, knowing that his lead in the championship was being reduced after he was forced back to 10th. His nemesis Whincup finishing four spots ahead of him in 6th.
Courtney's indiscretion allowed Tander to take the lead with Lowndes grabbing 2nd ahead of the late charging Kiwi Shane Van Gisbergen in the SP Tools Ford who crossed the line in 3rd.