TANDER WINS IN MELBOURNE, RICHARDS AN EMOTIONAL SECOND
The V8 Supercar races held at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix don't count towards the overall title, but Saturday's race proved that there's much more to life than championship points.
Driving a Bridgestone-backed HRT Commodore, Garth Tander took the win but most eyes were on the man behind him with Jason Richards taking an emotional second place.
The New Zealander was racing for the first time since being diagnosed with a rare form of stomach cancer. His race in Melbourne was only made possible by regular driver Jason Bargwanna, who handed Richards the drive in the Team BOC Commodore.
"Maybe it's just being relaxed in the driving and enjoying myself but for some reason I seem to be performing better with cancer in me! When we were at the front, pushing for the lead, the adrenalin just worked wonders," Richards said.
"I had a choice: either to sit on the couch and watch or to take the seat and have a go myself. This is my weekend, where I'm living my normal life; the heavy stuff will come later on.
"The emotional support I've had from the fans, my family, my V8 family, the team and my sponsors; it's exactly why I'm doing it. I'm just very grateful."
Tander finished second overall to Jamie Whincup over the three-race weekend, but - like most others at the Albert Park circuit - couldn't hold back his admiration for Richards.
"We complain about understeer and oversteer and the battle we have on our hands but that is nothing," Tander said.
"I think today's story was Jason, there's no more to it."
The battle for the championship resumes when the teams head to New Zealand for the third round at Hamilton, New Zealand on April 15th-17th.
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER RACE 4 OF 27
|1. ||Jamie Whincup (Holden) ||567 points |
|2. ||Mark Winterbottom (Ford) ||423 |
|3. ||GarthTander (HRT) ||363 |
|4. ||Alex Davison (Ford) ||348 |
|1. ||James Courtney (HRT) ||280 |