Tander takes Homebush race one pole
|By David Wright||Saturday, December 5th 2009, 05:26 GMT|
Holden Racing Team's Garth Tander took a dominant pole position for the inaugural race of the Telstra 500 on the streets of the Olympic precinct at Homebush.
After just making it through the first leg of qualifying in 20th, he turned it around in the second leg before a superb lap in the top-ten shootout in which he was half a second faster than anyone else.
Behind him it was an unbelievably close battle in the shootout, the next six cars covered by less than a tenth of a second. Alongside Tander on the front row will be Garry Rogers Motorsport's Lee Holdsworth.
Third on the grid will be championship leader Jamie Whincup, who after struggling for pace throughout the weekend made it into the top ten in ninth before going close to pole before Tander's final flyer. Alongside Whincup is the second Garry Rogers car of Michael Caruso.
Having recently announced his retirement from full-time driving, fifth for Cameron McConville was a surprise, just ahead of Greg Murphy, with Ford Performance Racing's Mark Winterbottom completing the group of cars within a tenth of Holdsworth.
Completing the top ten on the grid are James Courtney, David Reynolds who backed up a good first race at Barbagallo before the late tyre issue, and Paul Dumbrell who will be switching teams and marques for next season.
Just missing the top ten were a number of fancied runners, with 11th through 18th filled by Rick Kelly, Russell Ingall, Jason Bright, Todd Kelly, Shane van Gisbergen, Steven Johnson, Will Davison and Fabian Coulthard.
Davison's 17th position on the grid will make things difficult for him in the championship, as not only has it made his hopes of beating Whincup slim (he needs to win or finish second in this race with a Whincup DNF to have any hope) but his 128 point margin over team-mate Tander on pole is also likely to narrow significantly.
Tander's third place looks extremely secure with his only rival for the position, Team Vodafone's Craig Lowndes, having a disastrous session. Lowndes will start 21st and needs to make 222 points up with 300 remaining available.
Pos Driver Car Time 1. Garth Tander Holden Commodore VE 1:29.8489 2. Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VE 1:30.3376 + 0.4887 3. Jamie Whincup Ford Falcon FG 1:30.3631 + 0.5142 4. Michael Caruso Holden Commodore VE 1:30.3938 + 0.5449 5. Cameron McConville Holden Commodore VE 1:30.4007 + 0.5518 6. Greg Murphy Holden Commodore VE 1:30.4018 + 0.5529 7. Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG 1:30.4168 + 0.5679 8. James Courtney Ford Falcon FG 1:30.5638 + 0.7149 9. David Reynolds Holden Commodore VE 1:30.6887 + 0.8398 10. Paul Dumbrell Holden Commodore VE 1:30.8739 + 1.0250 11. Rick Kelly Holden Commodore VE 1:30.0583 + 0.2094 12. Russell Ingall Holden Commodore VE 1:30.1824 + 0.3335 13. Jason Bright Ford Falcon FG 1:30.1841 + 0.3352 14. Todd Kelly Holden Commodore VE 1:30.1967 + 0.3478 15. Shane Van Gisbergen Ford Falcon FG 1:30.2261 + 0.3772 16. Steven Johnson Ford Falcon FG 1:30.3236 + 0.4747 17. Will Davison Holden Commodore VE 1:30.5986 + 0.7497 18. Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG 1:30.6254 + 0.7765 19. Tim Slade Holden Commodore VE 1:30.6369 + 0.7880 20. Tony D'Alberto Holden Commodore VE 21. Craig Lowndes Ford Falcon FG 1:30.7873 + 0.9384 22. Steven Richards Ford Falcon FG 1:31.1049 + 1.2560 23. Alex Davison Ford Falcon FG 1:31.1968 + 1.3479 24. Jason Richards Holden Commodore VE 1:31.2101 + 1.3612 25. Michael Patrizi Ford Falcon BF 1:31.2781 + 1.4292 26. Jack Perkins Holden Commodore VE 1:31.3646 + 1.5157 27. Dean Fiore Holden Commodore VE 1:31.9459 + 2.0970 28. Mark McNally Holden Commodore VE 1:32.6307 + 2.7818 29. Jason Bargwanna Holden Commodore VE