Garth Tander
Garth Tander. Photo by Lynne Huntting
Pole sitter GARTH TANDER/No.2 Toll Holden Racing Team Holden Commodore VE won the Saturday V8 Supercar Armor All Gold Coast race at Surfers Paradise. However V8 Supercars Points Leader, JAMES COURTNEY/No.18 Jim Beam Racing Ford Falcon FG was among those who gave him a run for it in the waning laps, before falling back to finish tenth. Tander was fifth in the points prior to the race, and fourth afterwards. Courtney is still points leader with 2401 points.

Tander said “The team made no changes in the car for qualifying or the race, and the car just kept getting better during the race. By now there’s a heap of rubber on the track, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s race. The track is breaking up in Turn Nine.”

Andy Priaulx
Andy Priaulx and his second-place surf board. Photo by Lynne Huntting

Second and third finishers were CRAIG LOWNDES/No.888 TeamVodofone Holden Commodore VE (ANDY PRIAULX of UK as guest co-driver) and SHANE van GISBERGEN/No.9 Stone Brothers Racing Ford Falcon FG, co-driving with JOHN McINTYRE. Priaulx was the highest-finishing International driver.

The top three teams received purple surf boards.

Priaulx said about the first lap – “I saw Jacques (VILLENEUVE/No.55 The Bottle-O Holden Commodore VE) spinning, after the Ford (LUKE YOULDON/No.5 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon FG) drove up the wall. I went in early and Jacques just missed me. For about ten seconds it looked quite exciting.

Thanks for the surf board.”

Thirteen of the 18 guest drivers started the race and the other five got in at the first driver change. The guest drivers who led were SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS/No. and PATRICK LONG/No.34 Fujitsu/GRM. For a while it was 1-2 for SeeBass and Long. Bourdais pitted and Long led. A slippery smooth move by a stalking Tander, and Long then ran second until the pit stop for driver change. Co-driver MICHAEL CARUSO came out in fifth position and kept holding on to finish fourth overall. Caruso was ninth in the points before and after the race.

Patrick Long
Patrick Long. Photo by Lynne Huntting

Long had gotten in the car when it was running P19 and he worked his way up to P1. He said he’s glad his team didn’t tell him when he was running second or first. He was just trying to run steady consistent laps.

Several other International drivers ran in the top ten including DAVID BRABHAM/No.4 IRWIN Racing Ford Falcon FG; HELIO CASTRONEVES/No. 47 Wilson Security Racing Ford Falcon FG; FABRIZIO GIOVANARDI/No.21 Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing Holden Commodore VE ; and ALAIN MENU/No.14 Trader Post RacingHolden Commodore VE.

By halfway in the 102-lap race, there were no more guest drivers in the cars.

SCOTT PRUETT/No.30 Gulf Western Oil Racing Holden Commodore VE had to start last from the pit lane due to his co-driver, NATHAN PRETTY, crashing out during qualifying with No Time. Pruett worked his way up to eighteenth by Lap 24. However, he had to pit for a mechanical problem. The car was done – right rear bearing problem. Pruett was listed as P26 on the results, ahead of three other drivers who failed to finish.

A first lap first chicane mess looked like the aftermath of an action movie car chase, with two drivers retiring on the

Ryan Briscoe
Ryan Briscoe. Photo by Lynne Huntting
spot – WILL POWER/No.6 Super Dunlop Dealer FPR Ford Falcon FG and WILL DAVISON/No.22 Toll Holden Racing Team Holden Commodore VE. This meant two Australian guest drivers, Power and Davison’s co-driver, RYAN BRISCOE didn’t get to race. Power’s car had engine problems from being hit so much. The team will be beavering Saturday night to be ready for Sunday.

The footage from that incident was being reviewed after the race.

Pit lane speed was 40 kph/24.85 mph and was radar-monitored. No one got a speeding ticket.

Friday attendance was 50,000 including five thousand pre-registered primary and middle-school students who were guests as part of a school education problem.

Saturday’s attendance was 60,116 for a two-day total of 111,096. If this continues, the prediction of 135,000 to 150,000 pronounced Wednesday by V8 Chairman, TONY COCHRANE could happen.

All the V8 races are aired live in Australia on Channel 7, and shown seven days later in the US on SPEED TV.

Saturday’s race was Round 19. Sunday’s Round 20 will start at 1:35 pm local time, with a starting grid set two hours earlier.