Always have a go

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 16/09/2015
  • By Kassie Gadeke

Garth Tander isn't bothered by his reputation for being a hard racer, simply saying he's determined to fight for every position and does it cleanly.

The Holden Racing Team star and 2007 champion has rocketed through the pack on a number of occasions this year, and his dash for the podium, finishing fourth with Warren Luff at Sunday's Wilson Security Sandown 500 after starting 12th was no exception.

After that race, Shane van Gisbergen - also renowned for being an aggressive driver - dropped a controversial comment in the press conference referring to Tander and David Reynolds.

"I was fine until he [Tander] got in front of Reynolds, because Reynolds is never going to pass you but Garth is pretty aggressive; he'd dive-bomb you for 80th," van Gisbergen said, triggering an exchange between the three on Twitter.

@GarthTander @Auto_Action @shanevg97 worked on me....

David Reynolds (@daffidreynolds) September 13, 2015

Recounting Sunday's race, Tander told he didn't quite have the speed to get past the TEKNO Commodore, but was seeing whether "he would make another mistake".

However, the 26-year old's comments made it sound as if just Tander's presence in the rear-view mirror was enough.

"So it seems," Tander said.

"You'll always have a go if there's the opportunity.

"I've passed a lot of cars this year and if there's an opportunity to get past you'll have a go - but certainly not risk my result or their result with coming off second best.

"But look, you always look for an opportunity if one arises or try and create one, that's for sure."

Having climbed through the pack on numerous occasions this season as HRT grapples with qualifying pace, Tander isn't fazed if he is perceived as being a hard racer - or if others don't like the way he drives on-track.

"It doesn't bother me - I don't go racing to get a reputation or to get any tags or names or anything like that," he said.

"I go racing to do a job and to do my best for the team, for our sponsors and for our fans.

"If that means I have to fight for what I've got, fight to defend a position or get a position then I'll do that.

"If that means I fight harder than some of the others, then great.

"It seems like I fight within the rules because I haven't had a call up at all - some guys like it, some guys don't. The guys that don't like it, it doesn't bother me too much."

Tander sits sixth in the Championship and has not received any penalty points this season, though plenty of other big name drivers have. His teammate James Courtney has been docked 40 points, Jamie Whincup 25 and Jason Bright a whopping 75 points this season.

As for van Gisbergen's comment, Tander has conceded that it may have been meant as a compliment, though it didn't seem like it at the time.

"The term 'dive-bomb' isn't a very complimentary term," he said.

"Dive-bomb to me is someone who spears into the side of the car when they're trying to pass you - which I clearly didn't do and haven't done to anyone this year. But I sort of, now get what he meant."

Asked if, after their exchange at Winton earlier this year, he agrees with van Gisbergen's dig that Reynolds won't try to pass, all he would say was: "Some guys will have a go, some guys won't".

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