1 January 1901
Tander fastest in Winton practice.
Reigning V8 Supercars champion Garth Tander fired a broadside at current points leader Mark Winterbottom after his Holden Racing Team returned to the top of the leaderboard on the opening day of the series' visit to Winton.
Tander made the most of changeable - and, at time, atrocious - conditions to set the fastest practice time of the day, then made his feelings known about press reports aimed at his section of the 'Red side' during the week. Winterbottom had suggested that Ford has no great superiority over Holden, claiming that the HRT outfit just needed to 'work harder' to keep pace with his Ford Performance Racing team - and Tander certainly noted the comments.
“I read in the press that the Holden teams have to work a lot harder, and we've done that coming into Winton," Tander said in a thinly-veiled reference to his Ford rival's comments, "Certainly there's more Fords up the front at the moment than Holdens, but there's enough of us up there - it only takes one to win."
Tander was, in the end, quite dominant in terms of times on day one, but warned that it was still very early in proceedings.
"I wouldn't have thought there'd be three-tenths [between first and second] tomorrow," he said, "The weather's forecast to be changeable again, so today's probably good practice for when it counts.
"Today was difficult with the weather constantly changing, but we were able to get lots of information with the new tyre at our test circuit. We might have been quickest today, we've got three-tenths, but my car performance wasn't exactly there. I'm happy in the wet, so we're ready for anything tomorrow.”
Winterbottom was second in practice, with young New Zealander Fabian Coulthard in third, resuming the good form he had shown earlier in the season for rising young team Glenford's Racing.
“We started of tip-toeing around in the wet like everybody else but, apart from that, it wasn't too bad," Coulthard said, "Getting further up the grid is what we are attempting to achieve, but it's hard work getting here. It's one of those things – we just need to keeping doing it consistently.”
Winterbottom, meanwhile, continued his unflappable consistency, topping the timesheets for most of the afternoon despite working to resolve an engine misfire for much of the session. He was only edged off top spot in the last few minutes by Tander and remained confident that he will be in the fight for pole.
"We were on top there for the majority of the session, but got out-lapped on the green [tyres]," 'Frosty' said, "We're there or thereabouts though, so I'm not worried. The weather is obviously a bit hard - very tough conditions for strategy and set-up and we had a couple of issues to deal with in that session. Still, we did the changes that we had to do and got second fastest in the process. I'm pretty pleased with that."
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