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What spurred Tander to fifth Bathurst 1000 win

GARTH Tander has revealed he was worried about being the weakest link in Car #97’s pursuit of Bathurst glory, spurring him to work even harder in the 2022 event lead-up.

The Supercars champion went on to do a stellar job to repeat his and Shane van Gisbergen’s 2020 triumph and propel Tander into the exclusive club of drivers to have won the Great Race on five or more occasions.

His company? Peter Brock, Jim Richards, Craig Lowndes, Larry Perkins, Mark Skaife and Steven Richards.

“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,” Tander said.

“I knew that the car and Shane and the team were going to be exceptional this week and I was determined not to be the weakest link in the team this year, so I worked really, really hard in the lead-up to this one.

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“I was pretty satisfied with the way that middle stint went and to be able to contribute in a small way.

“Five is a pretty serious number but I won’t probably realise that until much, much later.”

Tander believes he was able to contribute more to this year’s win than in 2020.

“Just being up to speed early and that middle stint, just being able to open up the gap and give the team flexibility with strategy and things like that, not being boxed into a corner,” he said. “That was really my goal.

The podium celebrations. Pic: Nathan Wong

“We got ourselves back to the lead after the pitstop penalty just to open up maximum flexibility and not just give the car back in the lead, give the car back in the lead with plenty of options for the team. So that was pretty satisfying.”

Now, the question is whether the 45-year-old will return for another tilt in 12 months’ time.

“I’ll work that out later,” was his succinct response.

While van Gisbergen fell just short of wrapping up his third Repco Supercars Championship crown – something that almost certainly will happen at the Gold Coast 500 – he now holds the record for the most race wins (19) in a single season, trumping Scott McLaughlin’s tally.

“It might upset some people but it’s a pretty special thing to do without all the calls of parity and stuff,” said van Gisbergen.

“As a team we have done such a good job. I feel like we’re not the best in qualifying, we’re not the fastest car, but in the races we seem to execute it and working with Andrew (Edwards, engineer) this year, he has been fantastic.

“When we’re under pressure, when things aren’t so good, the way he tunes the car up and goes about it, along with the rest of the engineering group, I think we’re in a pretty special place at the moment.

“Obviously it is going to change next year (when Gen3 debuts) and be a lot more difficult but this year has been very, very cool.”

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