TANDER HOT IN HAMILTON Reigning V8 Supercar champion Garth Tander raced back into championship calculations after a disappointing opening two rounds winning all three 36 lap races on the streets of Hamilton (NZ) in front of 175,000 race fans to...
TANDER HOT IN HAMILTON
Reigning V8 Supercar champion Garth Tander raced back into championship calculations after a disappointing opening two rounds winning all three 36 lap races on the streets of Hamilton (NZ) in front of 175,000 race fans to inscribe his name on the inaugural Mark Porter Hamilton 400 trophy.
Tander moved passed polesitter Steven Richards in the early stages of the opening race and was typically ruthless once in front, eventually taking the chequered flag by 1.1 seconds from the Holden of ex-teammate Rick Kelly, with the Ford of Steve Richards third.
There was high drama during qualifying for the 400 on Saturday when championship leader Jamie Whincup was involved in a heavy crash after accidentally clipping the Commodore of Todd Kelly the impact sent Whincup careering into the wall at about 130km/h.The Triple Eight Falcon suffered major front and rear damage forcing Whincup to miss all three races, Triple 888 teammate Craig Lowndes faired little better over the weekend with several minor indiscretions on the slippery track surface putting a major dent in his own title aspirations.
Tander was methodical in the the remaining two legs of the Hamilton round cruising to comfortable wins, while Ford's leading hope in the championship Whincup watched his championship lead evaporate from the Channel Seven commentary box.
Tander's win maintained an incredible streak for Holden in New Zealand, with the red lions winning all seven rounds in Pukekohe between 2001 and 2007 before it made way for the Hamilton street race this year.
Ford Performance Racing's Steven Richards was second overall following his third, second and third-place finishes across the three races, while Stone Brothers Racing's James Courtney finished third for Ford in his first podium for 2008 after a trouble free run in all three races.
Next stop in the championship could prove pivotal for series honours as the Supercar Championship returns to Barbagallo Raceway in Perth for round four in three weeks time. Tander's home event and if 07 was anything to go by the lanky west Australian who scored three race wins in WA last season could upset championship aspirations for several leading teams in the V8 paddock very early in the season.