Winning Garth Tander warns other V8 drivers

DAVID LONG
Last updated 05:00 13/07/2014
TEARING IT UP: Garth Tander put HRT back on top last weekend in Townsville.
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TEARING IT UP: Garth Tander put HRT back on top last weekend in Townsville.

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Holden Racing Team's Garth Tander has warned the rest of the V8 Supercars drivers that the success he had at Townsville last week wasn't a one off.

The HRT team he drives for are one of the big three in the series, along with Ford Performance Racing and Triple Eight.

But up until recently HRT have been lagging behind the other two in terms of results.

However, that all changed in North Queensland with Tander getting a win and two second places over the three races, while his team-mate James Courtney, placed eighth, second and fourth.

Other teams like Erebus and Garry Rogers Motorsport have had the odd good week before slipping back again, but Tander feels their cars will remain consistently quick, well, as much as any car can.

"You look at even the Red Bull (Triple Eight) guys, some weeks they're up there and some weeks they're down too and they're arguably the most competitive team in the series," Tander told Sunday News.

"So it is a challenge to be consistent every week, but we feel we're starting to get the cars to the point where they're fast enough at all of the different types of circuits, although they'll still be a few curve balls between now and the end of the year.

"We feel that we've got more work to do with the cars and there are further upgrades to get on them, so that we feel there is a base package good enough to compete week-in week-out, but we're certainly heading in the right direction."

What was significant after the second race last Saturday when HRT finished first and second, was how overjoyed Tander and Courtney were with each other's success.

It couldn't be any further away than the situation between Formula One team mates, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosburg, who are constantly at loggerheads.

"We've got a really good working relationship," Tander said of himself and Courtney.

"There is no animosity between the two of us, we both know we have to work together closely to make sure we can help the team develop the cars.

"There certainly aren't the issues like we're seeing at Mercedes in Formula One at the moment.

"We're both happy for each other when we get strong results, and when we had the one-two last Saturday it was great to be able to share that with each other, because we have been working really hard with each other to help this team get into a stronger position.

There's no bickering, although the old adage that the first person you want to beat is your team-mate still rings true, but there is a healthy rivalry, not a toxic one, because if it is then that certainly doesn't help the team because it creates sides and people start hiding things from each other."

Tander, who won the championship in 2007, lies in eighth place on the points ladder, a whopping 499 points behind leader Mark Winterbottom and despite the car going well he admits his chances of winning this year's series are slim.

"I think this year it's very much an outside chance given that we didn't have a strong start," he said.

"For the second half of this year it's all about creating momentum and there's one very big race in October [Bathurst] we're focused on.

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"But as far as the championship goes, if we can create some momentum and consistency over the next six months to take that into the next year, certainly that's the plan.

"We're not taking our eyes off this year's championship, if we can sneak into the top five that would be great, but we're a long way behind at the moment."

AT A GLANCE

THE V8 SUPERCARS POINTS TABLE: 1 Mark Winterbottom 1634 2 Jamie Whincup 1538 3 Fabian Coulthard 1361 4 Shane van Gisbergen 1355 5 James Courtney 1354 6 Craig Lowndes 1352 7 Scott McLaughlin 1211 8 Garth Tander 1135 9 David Reynolds 1099 10 Chaz Mostert 1098.

- Sunday News

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