Watching Shane van Gisbergen cross the chequered flag in Holden’s final race around Mount Panorama, no one felt more relief than Garth Tander waiting anxiously in the Triple Eight Racing garage.
After all, co-driver Tander had completed 76 laps in car 97 after starting the race in difficult conditions.
His 2020 Bathurst-winning partner van Gisbergen navigated two late safety cars and fended off Chaz Mostert to the final corner to cross for his second career triumph at Mount Panorama.
For Tander, Sunday’s win moves him up in history, now joint fourth all time with five wins at Bathurst.
Tander joins Steven Richards with that accolade and moves one clear of Allan Moffat, Greg Murphy and Jamie Whincup.
Murphy and Whincup finished Sunday’s race in 11th and fifth placings respectively.
The Triple Eight Racing duo’s last win came under the shroud of a COVID-19 affected event in 2020, but this time Tander and van Gisbergen celebrated the 1000km win in front of a capacity crowd.
“That’s as nervous as I’ve been out of a race car,” Tander said of the final few laps.
“I have never really been emotional after a race but that was pretty emotional.
“Just the realisation that five is a pretty serious number to have had success here.
“And I knew that the car, Shane and the team were going to be exceptional this week, I was determined not to be the weakest link in the team.
“Five is a pretty serious number but I won’t probably realise that until much, much later.”
Scoring a second win in three years, 45-year-old Tander felt his preparation was better in 2022.
“Just being up to speed early and that middle stint – being able to gap, open up the gap and give the team flexibility and strategy and things like that. Not being boxed into a corner.”
Tander said whether he competes again at the 2023 Bathurst 1000 will be made after a discussion with Red Bull Racing.
(Australian Associated Press)