Australian Fford

Spectrum 012 driver Chaz Mostert got his Australian Formula Ford season off to the perfect start with a dominant win at Albert Park from pole position ahead of Nick Foster's Mygale. Me was also leading the second race on lap two when it was abandoned after Caleb Rayner crashed his Spectrum heavily.


Tander's HRT double in Albert Park

Garth Tander emerged from the three V8 Supercar events at Albert Park with the biggest smile, but the Holden Racing Team driver might have been excused for thinking that he should have swept all three races, and not won 'just' two.

A rear wheel lock-up while leading the Friday event dropped the HRT car to second behind Ford's James Courtney.

But for the remainder of the weekend, the Holden hero was not headed, his cause assisted in Sunday's final event when Courtney and Jamie Whincup both suffered terminal engine woes.

"It's a shame that Jamie went out, and then James, because it deprived everyone of a good race," said Tander, looking like he meant at least some of it.

Of course, the other bad news for Tander, who qualified on pole position, was that Whincup's sudden outbreak of unreliability — the first engine problem he has suffered in a race since

Triple 8 switched to Holdens — happened at the non-championship Grand Prix support. The two-time champion was eighth overall over the weekend, but his bid for a third title remains undiminished.

Courtney's Dick Johnson Racing Falcon was a narrow winner of race one, from Tander and New Zealander Shane van Gisbergen.

Van Gisbergen took third, fourth and second over the three events, showing that the maiden win for the 20-year-0ld Stone Brothers Racing driver cannot be far away.

The sneaky drivers of the weekend were Craig

Lowndes and Will Davison. Neither was particularly brilliant in qualifying — Lowndes sixth and Davison a lacklustre 15th — but both managed to stay out of trouble in the races, and maintained their forward momentum as the races went on.

The other quiet achiever was Steven Johnson, who seems to have developed a cloak of invisibility that aids him when the results are tallied.

As usual, there were many talking points on the lakeside circuit, one of them the return to form of Greg Murphy. The New Zealand hero had his best weekend of the year in terms of speed and, while his results do not reflect how competitive he was, there are signs that the four-time Bathurst winner can head east, to the next round of the championship in Hamilton, New Zealand, with some confidence.

On the other hand, Ford Performance Racing struggled. Steven Richards had his tough season continue, and both drivers were affected by brake problems, Richards during practice and qualifying and Mark Winterbottom in race three. The team's newest driver, Paul Dumbrell, completely overshadowed his senior team members, taking sixth overall for the weekend.

The biggest accident of the weekend afflicted Tony Ricciardello. The multiple Sports Sedan champion and V8 Supercar rookie lost control of his Holden at the fast Turn 12 complex and, unfortunately for him, found Astroturf and not a kerb on the road's edge.

His Kelly Racing Holden was badly damaged and the team faces a rebuild before the car is ready to make the trip to New Zealand. • Phil Branagan

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