Garth Tander ended Holden Racing Team’s winless streak of 58 races by taking victory in the second leg of V8 Supercars’ Townsville weekend.
Tander made a great getaway from fourth on the grid to run in second during the opening phase of the race, but the turning point came on lap nine when Lee Holdsworth’s Erebus Mercedes ground to a halt at Turn 11.
With the safety car deployed the HRT crew opted to adopt a different strategy to most of those around them by pitting Tander early and putting him on the softer tire compound.
From there he put in a succession of quick laps and filtered his way to the front of the field, eventually passing Mark Winterbottom for the lead on lap 22.
Tander then managed to eke out a sizeable gap to the chasing pack and made his second stop on lap 39 for a change of rear tires without conceding position, before going on to take the chequered flag.
Following Tander over the finishing line was team-mate James Courtney, who also adopted a two-stop strategy, and in doing so gave HRT its first one-two finish since Sandown in 2009.
Completing the rostrum was Shane van Gisbergen who made a brilliant recovery from starting 21st, having been caught out by a late red flag during qualifying, and was also tapped into a spin at Turn 2 on the opening lap.
He too made an early stop to get on the softer tires and reaped the rewards in doing so.
Poleman Winterbottom brought his Ford Performance Racing Ford home in fourth after making just one stop, while Russell Ingall performed brilliantly to finish fifth after starting way back in 24th.
Craig Lowndes struggled in his Triple 8 Holden all afternoon to take seventh, but teammate Jamie Whincup experienced a more torrid race as he lacked pace while running on the harder tires during the opening stint.
He finished 11th but still leaves Townsville as the championship leader.
Results - 70 laps:Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Garth Tander HRT Holden 1h30m04.1640s 2. James Courtney HRT Holden +0.3191s 3. Shane van Gisbergen Tekno Holden +9.3852s 4. Mark Winterbottom FPR Ford +21.6028s 5. Russell Ingall Walkinshaw/HRT Holden +27.4962s 6. Tony D'Alberto D'Alberto Holden +27.7474s 7. Craig Lowndes Triple 8 Holden +28.4158s 8. Tim Slade Rosenberg/Erebus Mercedes +30.0529s 9. Scott McLaughlin GRM Holden +34.5332s10. Will Davison FPR Ford +36.8378s11. Jamie Whincup Triple 8 Holden +36.9797s12. Jonathon Webb Tekno Holden +37.5389s13. Chaz Mostert Dick Johnson Ford +46.4717s14. James Moffat Nissan +47.7656s15. Todd Kelly Nissan +49.5826s16. Jason Bright Brad Jones Holden +51.9163s17. Fabian Coulthard Brad Jones Holden +52.6355s18. Alex Davison Schwerkolt/FPR Ford +55.1586s19. Alexandre Premat GRM Holden +55.5852s20. Rick Kelly Nissan +59.7228s21. Scott Pye Dumbrell Holden +1m00.0182s22. Michael Caruso Nissan +1m08.6171s23. Tim Blanchard Dick Johnson Ford +1m08.6852s24. Dean Fiore Dumbrell Holden +1 lap25. David Wall Britek/BJR Holden +1 lap26. David Reynolds Rod Nash/FPR Ford +10 laps27. Maro Engel Erebus Mercedes +13 lapsRetirements: Lee Holdsworth Erebus Mercedes 6 laps