RACE 5
Race Distance: 200kms
Laps: 84
Compulsory Pit Stops: One – must change at least two tyres and/or add fuel.
Tyre Allocation: Soft tyre compound only.
Weather: Dry, partly cloudy and 17 degrees.
HRT Race Highlights:

  • It was another tight qualifying session and it wasn’t without controversy.  Davison was given a two spot grid penalty after blocking Courtney on his flying lap.  Unfortunately this did not affect the starting positions of the HRT Commodores.  Tander started 18th and Courtney 19th.
  • Tander had yet another explosive start and made up four places in the opening lap.
  • The first safety car came on lap 4 when Pither skidded head-on into the inside wall just after the hairpin. Courtney realised the enormity of the impact from the view in his mirrors and pre-empted a safety car before it was called.  He took advantage and headed straight for pitlane, a lap before the majority of the field.  He took on fuel only. Tander followed the leaders into pit lane on the next lap – again only fuel was added.  After the chaos of the first stops were completed and the raced resumed, Courtney was placed in 10th and Tander 15th.
  • The second round of stops for the HRT came on lap 37 for Courtney and lap 39 for Tander, both stopping this time for fuel and fresh tyres.
  •  Lap 41 saw Whincup take a tour into the gravel at the hairpin, he was beached and a second safety car was called while the track crew retrieved him. It was another flurry of activity as the remaining cars on track made their second stop while the yellow flags were waving.  At the restart Courtney had jumped to 8th and Tander 10th.
  • The HRT Commodores found themselves racing side-by-side on lap 47 and it was Tander who came out on top as they battled through the narrow turns.
  • Tander displayed his determination as he muscled his way past T Kelly, and then Coulthard.  Courtney did not want to be left behind and together they bunny-hopped their competitors and edged forward, hunting for a top 5 position.
  • Just four laps from the end of the race and half-a-dozen cars went sliding off the track at the hairpin – oil had been spilt by Waters on the track – including the race leader.  Tander and Courtney both benefited from this.
  • When the chequered flag was waved Tander was positioned 6th and Courtney 7th, both up a massive 12 places from their starting positions.
  • Tander and Courtney now sit 5th and 6th consecutively on the Championship table.

Driver’s thoughts on the day:
Garth Tander, #2 Holden VF Commodore
“Today we salvaged a lot of points, if you said we were going to finish sixth after qualifying this morning I would have been happy with that for sure.  It was a solid race and the car did feel better today but we still didn’t fix the core issue that we had yesterday.  I think we just tuned it up in other areas.”

“Cleary we have a lot of work to do, we identified the problem with the car on Friday night but we just haven’t been able to tune it out over the course of the weekend. We’ll have a good look at things over the next two weeks, before Phillip Island, and hopefully come up with some solutions.”

“There was a lot of mistakes made in that race, there were a lot of people who made them and shouldn’t have.  It was critical for us to not make any mistakes – we did that and managed to move forward a few spots.  Moving up 12 places around Symmons Plains is not bad but will still need a faster car.”

James Courtney, #22 Holden VF Commodore
“Today we again didn’t have a good qualifying session and we started down the back where we shouldn’t be.  We are lucky in that race that we had a good call with the strategy.  The boys had a good clean first stop and we were able to make up a lot of places there.  Then we just circulated and managed to make up a few more, but that wasn’t from car speed.”

“We didn’t really nail what we needed with the car, so we will go away and have a look at everything from the weekend.  Then hopefully work out what went wrong and come out swinging at Phillip Island.”