Tander, Skaife win at Phillip Island, Bathurst next

TANDER AND SKAIFE LOOKING FORWARD TO BATHURST 1000 AFTER TAKING PHILLIP ISLAND 500 Current championship leader Garth Tander took the chequered flag to win the Lawrence and Hanson Phillip Island 500 in dramatic circumstances yesterday after ...


TANDER AND SKAIFE LOOKING FORWARD TO BATHURST 1000 AFTER TAKING PHILLIP ISLAND 500

Current championship leader Garth Tander took the chequered flag to win the Lawrence and Hanson Phillip Island 500 in dramatic circumstances yesterday after Vodafone's Jamie Whicup locked a brake allowing Tander to pass down the inside and streak away for a much needed endurance race win for the Holden Racing Team before heading to Bathurst.

Team mate and co-driver Mark Skaife was full of praise after he thought all was lost when he slipped back through the field during his period behind the wheel, which could have proved costly for Tander's shot at back to back titles. No doubt that thought was in the back of Tander's mind after Skaife came to grief at Bathurst two years earlier which cost him when his then team mate Rick Kelly grabbed a podium and the title that year.

The win saw Holden return to the endurance podium after three years in exile, with Ford dominating both the Sandown 500 and the race of the season, the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, although Team Vodafone are looking for a "three-peat" come October.

It was evident both on the podium and at the post race press conference that Whincup was a shattered man. Co-driver Craig Lowndes put on a brave face after admitting that they had it in the bag, but the team had to regroup and look forward to Bathurst in one month's time, where they will be looking to reverse the table.

Although Whincup was disappointed, spare a thought for some of the other high profile drivers who ended their race when the unexpected downpour put paid to their chances, including HSV driver Rick Kelly who went off twice, only to dust himself off after spinning through the sand traps. Russell Ingall, who was running in 4th spot lost control and spewed off the track, likewise did Steven Richards in the Ford Performance Racing machine, who with partner Mark Winterbottom looked every bit contenders throughout the weekend.

One driver unlucky not to escape the chaos and carnage was Andrew Jones driving the BOC Holden Commodore who hit the tyre wall at the Hay Shed, rolling over several times before climbing out of his wreck, which brought out the Safety Car for the second time during the closing stages of the race. Although Jones managed to walk away, the 12 car looked to be a right off. With Bathurst only around the corner there is every chance he will partner regular team mate Cameron McConville in the 14 sister car.

Making a habit of finishing on the podium in the endurance races for the last couple of years has been the DJR Jim Beam Racing pair of Will Davison and Steven Johnson, and both were pleased with their performance over the weekend. Front runners from practice and over the weekend, they too both admitted that they were looking forward to putting in a similar performance come October.

Although the rain caused some havoc over the weekend, many pundits in the press conference thought that V8 Supercar Chairman, Mr Tony Cochrane was doing his best to create a bit of his own when he failed to release the 2009 calender, with the exception of confirming Clipsal, the Australian Grand Prix and the inaugural Townsville race. With a change of Premier in New South Wales in the past week, it appears that Mr Cochrane is still hanging onto the fact that a street race around the 2000 Olympic precinct is on the cards, however, the incoming Premier has all but confirmed that the State is broke.

Next year will see a change in the format of races and the return of the Top Ten Shoot Out which is designed to entertain the fans who have been vocal in this regard.

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Series Supercars
Drivers Steven Johnson , Garth Tander , Will Davison , Cameron McConville , Andrew Jones , Rick Kelly , Mark Skaife , Craig Lowndes , Mark Winterbottom , Tony Cochrane , Jim Beam , Steven Richards , Phillip Island
Teams Holden Racing Team