Holden Racing Team’s Garth Tander lines up for his 200th event start at Barbagallo Raceway this weekend.
While it is the West Australian’s home track, Tander has only tasted victory once at the circuit, bagging a dream round win back in 2007 on his way to his first and only V8 Supercars Championship crown.
In his orange #16 Toll HSV Dealer Team VE Holden Commodore, Tander topped Practice, Qualifying and cruised to three race wins, teammate Rick Kelly right behind him and only finishing third on the last race of the weekend.
“Awesome, absolutely awesome,” Tander said over the radio.
Now, six years on, Tander still steers a Walkinshaw Commodore, albeit in red (and white).
Heading into his home race achieving a career milestone, Tander reflected on that sole win at Barbagallo years ago.
“2007 was an awesome weekend obviously, I was on pole position and won all three races,” he said.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to have won three Bathursts and I actually put that weekend up on the same mantelpiece in terms of how important it was.
“We had a good car all weekend, we qualified on pole, my teammate Rick Kelly was second.
“We were first and second in the first two races and then (Mark) Skaife was second in the third race.
“We had really good speed and the car was, it was just one of those weekends where we didn’t have to change it from rolling it out. We were just fast all weekend.
“It’s very rare you get weekends like that, so to have it at home here – the first race win of that weekend was the first race I’d ever won at a national level here at Barbagallo Raceway. So it was cool to do that on the Saturday afternoon and then to deliver the two race wins again on the Sunday was very special.”
Tander said realistically you’d only have a handful of weekends in your career where the car was perfect straight up.
“The car was that good, everything seemed in sync and the results come your way.
“Often you can have a really good car and you don’t have the results come through for some reason or another, but that weekend we got the results and we had the car.
“So everything seemed to work and it felt, not easy, but comfortable. I was nice and relaxed and it all came together.”
Tander and his team didn’t know the win would be an important piece in the puzzle of a Championship victory – in fact, that year Kelly carried the #1 on his car after an intense finish ahead of Craig Lowndes in 2006.
“We didn’t know it at the time but it was the Championship year as well. So (the win) was a nice story to have in that year, which was a special year as well.
“Hopefully we can replicate it again this weekend.”
Tander, who sits fourth in the Championship, is looking forward to hitting the track.
“We’ve obviously had good car speed the last couple of races – we’ve been on the podium plenty.
“We’ve got some big upgrades in the car this weekend so (today) we’ve got a fair bit of testing to do, so if we can continue to get the most out of the car and understand the upgrades quickly, we can hopefully do well.”