Garth Tander put the Holden Racing Team back on top in the first of this weekend's V8 Supercars races in Townsville, taking his and his squad's first victory since Adelaide in March.
Tander ran fifth in the first stint, but an early pitstop and strong out-laps got him up to third, behind early leaders David Reynolds (Kelly Racing Holden) and Paul Dumbrell (Rod Nash/Ford Performance Racing).
The lead pair had been the only drivers in the field to start on the much faster soft rubber, and stormed through the pack into the top two positions, but once everyone was on harder tyres in the middle stint, Tander was able to hunt them down and overtake.
Reynolds escaped a clash with Tander's team-mate James Courtney when the reigning champion was a lap down due to a different strategy, but later had a long delay in the pits while an alternator issue was attended to. Dumbrell would slip back to 12th in the end.
Points leader Jamie Whincup could not quite get on terms with Tander as the race progressed and finished second for Triple Eight, 3.3 seconds off the lead.
A further 9.5s back, Ford Performance Racing's Will Davison successfully fended off late attacks from Whincup's team-mate Craig Lowndes to hang on to third, just ahead of polesitter Mark Winterbottom in the sister FPR car, which dropped back in the pit sequences, and the Garry Rogers Holden of Lee Holdsworth.
Results - 72 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Garth Tander HRT Holden 1h31m22.6745s 2. Jamie Whincup Triple 8 Holden + 3.3141s 3. Will Davison FPR Ford + 12.8252s 4. Craig Lowndes Triple 8 Holden + 13.2325s 5. Mark Winterbottom FPR Ford + 15.6250s 6. Lee Holdsworth Garry Rogers Holden + 17.5919s 7. Rick Kelly Kelly Holden + 23.8718s 8. Steve Owen Paul Morris Holden + 31.7026s 9. Jason Bright Brad Jones Holden + 35.2995s 10. Russell Ingall Paul Morris Holden + 35.8311s 11. Shane van Gisbergen Stone Brothers Ford + 39.6310s 12. Paul Dumbrell Rod Nash/FPR Ford + 41.6428s 13. Steven Johnson Dick Johnson Ford + 44.2696s 14. Todd Kelly Kelly Holden + 47.1716s 15. Fabian Coulthard Walkinshaw Holden + 49.7466s 16. Michael Caruso Garry Rogers Holden + 1m02.0829s 17. James Moffat Dick Johnson Ford + 1m03.2086s 18. Tony D'Alberto D'Alberto Ford + 1 lap 19. Greg Murphy Kelly Holden + 1 lap 20. Dean Fiore Triple F Ford + 1 lap 21. Jonathon Webb Tekno Ford + 1 lap 22. Karl Reindler Britek/BJR Holden + 2 laps 23. Jason Bargwanna Brad Jones Holden + 8 laps 24. David Reynolds Kelly Holden + 10 laps 25. Tim Slade Rosenberg/FPR Ford + 14 laps 26. Alex Davison Stone Brothers Ford + 15 laps Retirements: Warren Luff Dumbrell Holden 62 laps James Courtney HRT Holden 30 laps