Tander: Hard not to blow smoke at SVG success

Garth Tander says it is hard not to blow smoke at his Triple Eight team-mate Shane van Gisbergen following the driver’s remarkable run of form that has culminated in Bathurst 1000 success.

Tander: Hard not to blow smoke at SVG success
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Tander chalked up his fifth Bathurst 1000 win and his second alongside van Gisbergen, adding to their 2020 win, as the pair combined to largely dominate Supercars’ showpiece event last Sunday.

Van Gisbergen’s second Great Race triumph arrived a week after finishing on the WRC2 podium and scoring points on his World Rally Championship debut at Rally New Zealand.

The Mount Panorama victory is also the New Zealander’s 19th win of the Supercars season breaking the record of most wins in a season that was previously set by his fellow compatriot and three-time Supercars champion McLaughlin.

Working closely with van Gisbergen, Tander says he has been hugely impressed and privileged to share a car with the 2022 Supercars champion elect.

“I said to him [Shane] ‘it is a reasonable week for you when you think about it. You scored points and finished inside the top 10 in WRC’, and seven days later he delivered what he did [at Bathurst]," said Tander.

“I said to Shane after the Pukekohe result that I would never blow smoke up his arse, but it is going okay at the moment, it is hard not to [at the moment].

“I feel very privileged to get close and see the data and be with him and see how he goes about it. I’m an old bastard but I’m still getting an opportunity to learn a lot.”

For Tander, this latest Bathurst 1000 success draws him level with the Steven Richards on the all-time Great Race winners list. Only Peter Brock (9), Jim Richards, Craig Lowndes (7) and Larry Perkins and Mark Skaife (6) have scored more wins.

Tander says last Sunday’s success unusually triggered emotions for him post-race upon realising the enormity of what he had achieved. The West Australian has stood on the top step of the podium at the Bathurst 1000 in 2000, 2009, 2011, 2020 and 2022.

“I have never really been emotional after a race but that was pretty emotional, just the realisation that five is a pretty serious number to have had success here,” he added.

“I knew that the car, the team and Shane would be exceptional here. I was determined not to be the weakest link in the team, so I went really really hard in the lead up to this one and I was pretty satisfied with the way that middle stint went and I was able to contribute in a small way.

Tander also felt he was able to contribute more to this win compared to his last as co-driver with van Gisbergen in 2020.

“I was just up to speed early," he explained. “That middle stint and just being able to open up a gap and give the team flexibility on strategy and not being boxed in, that was really my goal.

“We got ourselves back to the lead after the pit stop penalty to open up maximum flexibility so it was not just going the car back in the lead, but back in the lead with plenty of options for the team. That was pretty satisfying.”

Tander is yet to commit to returning to Mount Panorama next year for a crack at a sixth Bathurst 1000 crown.

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