Friday, Nov 8 01:26pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Garth Tander tops tricky first Sandown 500 co-driver practice

A cold and blustery Sandown Raceway greeted the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship for Practice 1 on Friday morning.

The 30-minute session allowed the co-drivers to get a read on the circuit. In total there are four practice sessions split evenly between the primary and co-drivers.

Shane van Gisbergen’s co-driver Garth Tander of the Red Bull Holden Racing Team was the man to beat on a 1:08.0361, however, Jack Perkins had been quickest for the bulk share of the session until a late flurry of laps.

Since the series raced at Sandown a year ago, changes have been made to the circuit, particularly at Turn 6 through to Turn 8 where the run-off has been paved and extended.

“I raced here a couple of months ago in GT and TCR and they had done a bit of resurfacing, but they’ve done a lot more since then,” Tander said.

“They’ve done a lot at [Turn] 11 and 12. It’s crazy how quickly you can go through there. I’m adjusting the brain for that. It’d be cool if they resurfaced the whole joint, that’d be awesome.

“All your reference points are heaps different,” Tander said of the extended run-off.

“You can go heaps deeper there now because you know it’s not grass on the exit. If you understeer wide you know you’ve got Tarmac there to catch you.

“I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. It’s certainly a good thing if you’re a car owner, it’ll save you a lot of money. But as a driver, you want that commitment. I think they’ve done a good job with it.”

Bryce Fullwood continued to be the quiet achiever in second place. He’ll join Andre Heimgartner this weekend at Kelly Racing. The sister entry of Dale Wood - who is with Rick Kelly - was third quickest ahead of the Walkinshaw Andretti United duo of Warren Luff and Jack Perkins.

Perhaps most surprising was Tony D’Alberto who was only sixth fastest and the leading Ford Mustang entry. There were some concerns coming into the weekend that the Holden Commodore and Nissan Altima wouldn’t be able to keep up with the low drag Fords.

James Moffat (Tickford Racing), Luke Youlden (Penrite Racing), Dean Fiore (Kelly Racing) and Will Davison (Tickford Racing) completed the top 10 in a session littered with spins.

Youlden was the first to go for a spin at Turn 4, which was a hot spot for all the action.

There was nearly a bit of drama between Alex Premat of France and ex-pat New Zealander Steven Richards. The pair came close to rubbing doors down at Turn 1 but managed to get through unscathed.

Both of the Red Bull racers found themselves in a spot of bother. First, it was Tander who locked his rear wheels up at Dandenong Road as light rain began to fall. He duly went through the gravel run-off. Craig Lowndes had a moment of his own down at Turn 4 and spun in a similar fashion to Youlden.

Practice 2 for the primary drivers gets underway at 2:45 pm NZST. That will be followed by Practice 3 at 5:20 pm, which is the final co-driver practice.


Penrite Oil Sandown 500, Practice 1


Pos   No.   Driver/Co-driver Laps   Time Diff Int
1 97 New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen
Australia Garth Tander
15 1'08.036      
2 7 New Zealand Andre Heimgartner
Australia Bryce Fullwood
18 1'08.092 +0.056   +0.056
3 15 Australia Rick Kelly
Australia Dale Wood
17 1'08.100 +0.064 +0.008
4 2 Australia Scott Pye
Australia Warren Luff
16 1'08.132 +0.096 +0.031
5 22 Australia James Courtney
Australia Jack Perkins
17 1'08.185 +0.149 +0.053
6 12 New Zealand Fabian Coulthard
Australia Tony D'Alberto
18 1'08.234 +0.198 +0.048
7 55 Australia Chaz Mostert
Australia James Moffat
18 1'08.372 +0.336 +0.138
8 9 Australia David Reynolds
Australia Luke Youlden
17 1'08.442 +0.406 +0.070
9 3 Australia Garry Jacobson
Australia Dean Fiore
17 1'08.444 +0.408 +0.002
10 23 Australia Will Davison
Australia Alex Davison
22 1'08.450 +0.414 +0.006
11 17 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin
France Alexandre Prémat
19 1'08.461 +0.425 +0.010
12 5 Australia Lee Holdsworth
Australia Thomas Randle
16 1'08.490 +0.454 +0.029
13 6 Australia Cameron Waters
Australia Michael Caruso
15 1'08.536 +0.500 +0.046
14 99 Australia Anton De Pasquale
Australia Will Brown
12 1'08.566 +0.530 +0.029
15 33 New Zealand Richie Stanaway
New Zealand Chris Pither
17 1'08.578 +0.542 +0.012
16 888 Australia Jamie Whincup
Australia Craig Lowndes
17 1'08.637 +0.601 +0.058
17 14 Australia Tim Slade
Australia Ash Walsh
14 1'08.638 +0.602 +0.001
18 78 Switzerland Simona de Silvestro
Australia Alex Rullo
15 1'08.681 +0.645 +0.043
19 8 Australia Nick Percat
Australia Tim Blanchard
17 1'08.699 +0.663 +0.017
20 34 Australia James Golding
Australia Richard Muscat
12 1'08.699 +0.663 +0.000
21 21 Australia Macauley Jones
Australia Dean Canto
15 1'08.878 +0.842 +0.178
22 35 Australia Todd Hazelwood
Australia Jack Smith
16 1'08.977 +0.941 +0.099
23 19 Australia Jack Le Brocq
Australia Jonathon Webb
14 1'09.224 +1.188 +0.246
24 18 Australia Mark Winterbottom
New Zealand Steven Richards
17 1'09.400 +1.364 +0.175
25 56 Australia Brodie Kostecki
Australia Jake Kostecki
13 1'09.644 +1.608 +0.244


Photo: VUE Images / Red Bull Content Pool