The Bend TCR: Tander scores maiden win in thriller
Three-time Bathurst 1000 winner Garth Tander claimed his maiden TCR Australia victory in a wild first race of the weekend at the Bend Motorsport Park.
Tony D’Alberto passed pole-sitter James Moffat on the opening lap but his lead was short-lived, the Wall Racing Honda driver spinning on his own and dropping to the back of the pack.
Moffatt then came under pressure from D’Alberto’s teammate and TCR Australia debutant Jordan Cox, who had rapidly clawed his way up from eighth on the grid.
However, in an attempt to pass Moffat, Cox hit the left rear of the Renault, pitching the Australian driver into a spin and losing momentum himself, allowing Melbourne Performance Audi driver Tander to assume the lead.
Tander completed the move just before the safety car was called in, and was able to pull away cleanly when green flag racing resumed on lap 4.
However, just a few laps later, the Supercars ace made a rare mistake on a track that had still visible damp patches, dropping down to fourth in the order.
Tander initially appeared to be out of running, but rapidly closed in on the leading duo of Martin and Cox in the closing stages of the races, having already repassed Brown.
On what turned out to be the penultimate lap of a time-limited race, Tander passed both Martin and Cox in quick succession to claim his first TCR Australia victory in four attempts.
HMO Customer Hyundai deiver Brown finished second with Tander’s teammate Aaron Cameron completing the podium.
Martin was next up in fourth, while Nathan Morcom completed the top five.
Cox, who finished second on the road, was classified seventh after a 10-second penalty was applied for his lap 1 incident with Moffat.
Andre Heimgartner was one of the four retirees from the race, the Kiwi’s Subaru coming to a halt on lap 10.
The Bend TCR: Moffat takes sensational pole
The Bend TCR: Brown wins crash-affected second race