The Toll HSV Dealer Team will pair its championship leaders, Bathurst winners Rick Kelly and Garth Tander, for the Supercheap Auto 1000 at Mount Panorama on October 7.

After hedging its bets by splitting reigning champion Kelly and challenger Tander in last weekend's Sandown 500, where it teamed Kelly with Paul Radisich and Tander with Craig Baird, the Victorian-based Holden outfit has decided to run both of its regular drivers in the same Commodore in a no-holds-barred tilt to win the team's third 1000km classic.

This means that Kelly and Tander - who are separated by just nine points at the top of the V8 Supercar Championship table - will put their title aspirations in each other's hands as they join forces in an attempt to win another Bathurst crown while also trying to extend their championship lead over Ford rivals Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes.

After Sandown, the gap between second-placed Tander and third-placed Whincup is 45 points - 434 to 389 - while Lowndes is a further 16 points behind.

At Bathurst, the Toll HSV stars will share Kelly's #1 Commodore by virtue of Kelly's lead in on the championship table. Former Touring Car World cup winner Radisich and Carrera Cup Champion Baird will share Tander's #16 car.

Toll HSV Team Manager Rob Crawford said pairing Kelly and Tander for Bathurst had always been an option for the team, depending on the result at Sandown.

"We took a little insurance with a safety-first, wait-and-see position at Sandown to ensure that at least one of our drivers went through to the next round with a points lead intact," he said. "In the end, both of our cars finished high among the points, at second and fourth places, with both Paul (Radisich) and Craig (Baird) doing an excellent job after we gave them a tough task of starting the race.

"Bathurst requires a different approach. We have always teamed up two regular drivers at Mount Panorama, and this year is going to be no different. Both Rick and Garth have done it before and know what it takes."

In the past four years, Rick Kelly has won the race twice (with Greg Murphy) and come second once (last year with brother Todd).

Tander won the race with Jason Bargwanna in 2000. Last year, he and Mark Skaife started from pole position and but were thwarted by a failed clutch on the start line.

Crawford said Kiwis Radisich and Baird would be a big chance at Bathurst in their own right while playing a crucial role supporting Kelly and Tander.

"After Sandown, no one could discount them for Bathurst," he said.

Crawford said they had done everything the team had asked of them in anchoring the team's challenge for the Sandown 500.

"We asked them to hand the cars back on the lead lap and nice and straight. They did better than that, as Rick and Garth took delivery of cars in the top 10 at the driver change, ready to go."

Radisich impressed by setting the second-fastest lap time in the Sunday morning warm-up, while Baird warmed up by winning the Carrera Cup race only minutes before starting the V8 race.

The pairing of the Kiwi veterans in an "All Black-and-Orange" Commodore gives them their best chance of a Bathurst crown. Radisich has twice come second at Mount Panorama - ten years apart, in 1990 and 2000. Baird just missed a podium with Steven Johnson when they came fourth 1997.

Kelly and Tander shared an HSV Commodore at Bathurst in 2005 when their assault on the race was almost finished before it started after Tander was drilled twice in the first lap, forcing him to pit for lengthy repairs. They ended up recovering to finish 16th.

Tander said he was pleased to have another crack at the Mountain with Kelly: "Ricko and I have always said that it would be our first preference to drive together," he said. "But we have always been well aware of the championship implications of that.

"However, we feel now is the time to start making a move and putting the pressure back on the Triple 8 team who had a great result at Sandown.

"It is time for us to put our 'A game' back on the circuit."

Kelly said he and Tander, while championship rivals, had a close working relationship.

"Our championship success to date has been all about team-work," he said. "All four drivers in this team will have a job to do at Bathurst, and regardless of who is teamed with whom, we'll be giving it a big shot. We always want to win - I see every round how much Garth wants to win. But for now, it is about the team winning Bathurst. We hated coming second last year."