Momentum is everything, certainly for Garth Tander.
The Toll Holden Racing team gun won his third race in four starts at the Australian Grand Prix today and now has his sights firmly set on the ITM400 in Hamilton when the V8 Supercar Championship Series returns to full points.
Tander held off a fast finishing TeamVodafone Champion in Jamie Whincup and a fading James Courtney in his Jim Beam Falcon to win the second of three non-points races at the Albert Park Formula 1 event.
“For us it's all about keeping the momentum going from Clipsal and developing along the way,” Tander said. “Everyone in the paddock here is trying things they wouldn't during a Championship round.
“It's about continually proving we have a fast car. We will continue doing that and hope to continue it again tomorrow.”
For the second day running rain threatened the race, as did looming darkness due to the shroud of cloud cover. Courtney started on pole position due to his win of yesterday with Tander alongside him.
Rain began to fall at race start making for a cautious first lap. Almost miraculously the field made it through the first few corners and it was very apparent that the bravest man was in the best position.
“It was a tough race with the rain coming and going to you didn't really know where to brake at any of the markers,” Tander said.
“Being the lead car the guys behind can judge your car behaviour on where you are going to brake. It will make for an interesting F1 race but hopefully for our (earlier) race it will be fine.”
Initially that was SP Tools flier Shane Van Gisbergen who got around Courtney on lap one and quickly jumped onto the rear bumper of Tander who took the lead from the 'dirty' side of the front row of the grid.
Bundy Red Racing's Fabian Coulthard was the first casualty but not due to the rain, rather a flat tyre, possibly from contact with Courtney on the main straight. Coulthard locked up at speed into turn one with the flat tyre, skidding through the 'kitty litter' and out of the race.