Tander primed for super race

HOLDEN Racing Team's Garth Tander believes co-driver Nick Percat is ready to impress in Sunday's Bathurst 1000 despite his crash into a wall at the top of the mountain in last year's endurance event.

That put the 2011 champions out of contention, and Percat was also penalised for speeding in the Sandown pit lane last round.

But Tander has been impressed with the maturity the 25-year-old has displayed in coming back from both disappointments.

"I've got every bit of confidence in Nick," Tander said.

"We had a fairytale win together at Bathurst in Nick's rookie year, then he learnt last year that success on the mountain can come back to bite you on the backside.

"He gained some valuable experience from last year's race and I know he's quick enough and good enough to drive well again this year."

Tander is a Bathurst expert, winning the marquee endurance event three times in his distinguished 16-year career as a V8 driver.

The 36-year-old thrives on the public scrutiny that surrounds the gruelling 161-lap race.

"It's a big race and a big day - it sets the men apart from the boys," he said.

"I enjoy the pressure placed on you to do well for our commercial partners and fans.

"There's always so much support for Holden there, especially with our very good record in the race.

"The fans are fantastic - it's one of the few races where you can actually hear them cheering from inside your car."

Tander is eighth in the overall championship standings and can move up the ladder with a win at Bathurst, with 300 points on offer.

"I know it's a cliche, but you can't look too much into the championship standings at this time of the year because there are so many points on offer in these endurance events," Tander said.

Tander broke a two-year winning drought with victory at the Townsville event in July.

"My results this year have been encouraging compared to last year (seventh overall)," he said. "If I can get some more wins and finish in the top five, that would be massive. I'm aiming to be better and stronger next year."

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