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Tander teaching Whincup the co-driver ways

GARTH Tander has poked fun at Triple Eight Race Engineering boss Jamie Whincup, noting the Supercars legend is yet to get used to co-driver treatment.

Whincup has this year reverted to co-driver status in the #88 Red Bull Ampol ZB Commodore, for which Broc Feeney is now the primary pilot.

It’s a mode that is more natural for Tander nowadays, having begun co-driving with Shane van Gisbergen in 2019.

Between the team’s retired full-timers Tander, Whincup and Craig Lowndes – who has been listed as the lead driver for the #888 wildcard – there are 11 championships, 15 Bathurst 1000 victories… and plenty of banter.

“I’m having to train Jamie about how to be a co-driver clearly because he’s not used to it,” Tander chuckled to V8 Sleuth.

“He has to understand the quality of the equipment that he gets as a co-driver.

“But Lowndes has gone the other way now!

“He’s gone up to the wildcard and is trying to be the primary driver again, so I think he is down there negotiating for green tyres and better engine and all the rest of it.

Jamie Whincup

“No doubt the debriefs will be a lot of fun.”

Tander did have Car #97 all to himself today at Queensland Raceway, with van Gisbergen absent from the pre-Bathurst test as he makes his World Rally Championship debut tomorrow in New Zealand.

“If Shane was here it probably would have been two-thirds me, one-third Shane; that’s the way these pre-Bathurst tests generally run,” Tander said of the added mileage.

“But he’s not here so I get the whole lot, so bad luck to him!

“In reality, after 10 laps this morning I was fine, in the groove and getting on with it and we just started doing the development testing. It’s been good, as far as working with Andrew (Edwards, engineer).

“Obviously he is new to the team this year but he and Shane have been working together all year so for Andrew and I to work together exclusively all day has been really good.

“Also from a physical point of view, you can run and train and swim and do weights until the cows come home, but until you actually get in the car and sweat it out properly… it’s actually good to have that big workload today literally eight days before I am back in the car again.”

The van Gisbergen/Tander combination will enter the Repco Bathurst 1000 as one of the out-and-out favourites.

They placed second in 2019, won together in 2020, and were on-track for another runner-up result last year until a late tyre drama struck.

“Everyone gets carried away with the favourite tag and all the rest of it at Bathurst but in reality, there’s probably 10 cars that are genuinely capable of winning the race,” Tander said.

“It’s a long week, a long race. We’ve been up the front pretty much all of them that Shane and I have done together so we’ll just do our thing and the team will do its thing and what will be will be.”


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