Tander: Sydney track a big ask for Ambrose

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 05/12/2014
  • By V8 Supercars

Garth Tander believes the Sydney NRMA 500 is one of the more difficult tracks to mark Marcos Ambrose's return to V8 Supercars.

The Holden Racing Team star - who finished second in today's practice behind team-mate James Courtney and won at the circuit in 2009 - believes racing at Homebush, after two test days at Queensland Raceway, is a tough ask for the former two-time champion.

"It's a challenge, it's a big ask to come and drive the car here," Tander said.

"At Queensland Raceway you can do as many laps around there as you like, but it's not like this place.

"The series is very competitive and it's changed a lot in the last nine years so it's a big ask for Marcos.

"Marcos is a smart guy and he's a good operator and he'll be seriously competitive next year - but coming here this weekend and trying to compete was always going to be tough."

Having raced against Ambrose in all five years he contested V8 Supercars, Tander was aware of the 'Devil Racer's' capabilities.

Ambrose finished the final practice session in 24th position today, and said he had plenty more to learn this weekend.

"I would imagine he gets through tomorrow, [will] do two races, then qualify again Sunday and he'll probably get into a stride," the HRT driver said.

It was an unfortunate finish for Tander at the last event at Phillip Island, as his Commodore gasped for fuel approaching the finish line while leading the 200km Sunday race.

He was swamped by Scott McLaughlin (who was seventh today in practice) and finished second - something he is obviously hoping to better this weekend.

"The final result at Phillip Island, what the time sheet says, is disappointing," Tander said.

"But I think the performance and the way the car performed all weekend and the way we raced and achieved at Phillip Island was pretty self-explanatory."

While that result didn't provide extra motivation for the weekend, he is pleased to have performed well on day one, particularly after a tough run at the circuit in 2013.

"For me personally, we didn't have a great run here last year so, it's nice to have a good car and the guys have done a great job. I'm actually using the car that Russell Ingall was using last year and he thought that it was an old nail, so it's going pretty well."

While there will be plenty at play this weekend with Ambrose's return, Jamie Whincup to be awarded the Championship trophy on Sunday, and inclement weather forecast throughout the weekend, Tander wants to run his own race.

"We think we'll have a pretty strong run - there's lots of storylines this weekend so hopefully we just write our own story and we're off out in front."

Walkinshaw Racing stablemate Tim Slade was third for the day at the Sydney NRMA 500.

Stay In The Know
Sign up to the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Newsletter