Motorsport Wrap for Monday 5th December 2011

Bridgestone Motorsport Wrap for 5th December 2011

Top 5 Finish for Tander

Garth Tander has finished the V8 Supercars Championship in fifth place after another up-and-down final weekend of racing in the 2011 season.

Driving a Bridgestone-backed HRT Commodore, Tander finished just 0.8 seconds behind winner Craig Lowndes in Saturday's opening race around the Sydney Olympic Park Street Circuit.

However, he couldn't match that result in Sunday's final race after starting from the back of the grid.

"It was a bit of a frustrating day; we had a drama in qualifying where we locked the rear brakes and put the car into the wall which meant starting from the back of the grid," Garth said.

"We made a pretty good run through the field in the wet before losing about ten laps after an accident.

"We were aiming for third in the championship this weekend but couldn't quite make it; however we still had plenty of highlights this year including winning Bathurst, Townsville and the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide."

Teammate James Courtney ended his season on a positive note. The reigning champion brought his HRT Commodore home in seventh position, a result which earned him a top-ten finish in the championship.

The 2011 championship went down to the wire, with Jamie Whincup just hanging on to beat his Team Vodafone teammate Craig Lowndes.

After Lowndes won Saturday's race, Whincup knew he had to finish 14th or better to win his third V8 Supercars crown. He came home a cautious eighth, while Lowndes finished second to miss out on the title by just 35 points.

"I was expecting Craig to charge through today and go close to winning the race so I knew I had to finish better than 14th," Whincup said.

"It's been a long week to be honest. Everyone was telling me I was going to do this but it's never done until it's done.

"I have said all week it sucks that both of us can't actually win the Championship before we do work so hard during the year. Like any business in a way you work with your partner against everyone else and then you end up competing with each other."

FINAL CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS                                      

 1 Jamie Whincup  Vodafone Commodore  3168 points
 2 Craig Lowndes  Vodafone Commodore 3133
 3 Mark Winterbottom  FPR Falcon 2710
 4 Shane van Gisbergen   SP Tools Falcon 2672
 5 Garth Tander  HRT Commodore 2574
 6 James Courtney   HRT Commodore 1869