Garth Tander will bid farewell to the Holden Racing Team from pole position in the final Supercars race of the season at the Sydney 500.
Tander broke a four-year drought by qualifying fastest for Sunday’s 74-lap finale on the streets of Olympic Park, ahead of champion-elect Shane van Gisbergen and fellow HRT driver James Courtney.
The 39-year-old is leaving the team after this weekend, as is Holden from Walkinshaw Racing after 26 years.
The manufacturer announced earlier this year it will only be backing one outfit from 2017 – van Gisbergen’s Red Bull Racing.
“We just wanted to come here and celebrate what HRT has achieved the last 26 years,” said Tander, who is yet to confirm his next move.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve had pole so it’s a pretty special one.”
While van Gisbergen wrapped up the championship on Saturday ahead of teammate Jamie Whincup, the battle for third rages on.
Just nine points separate Volvo’s Scott McLaughlin and Craig Lowndes of Holden.
McLaughlin will start Sunday’s race from sixth, and Lowndes from 14th. Last year’s champion Mark Winterbottom is the best-placed Ford in 13th.
If Lowndes manages to leapfrog ahead of McLaughlin, in his last race for Garry Rogers Motorsport before switching to DJR Team Penske, it will deliver Red Bull Racing a historic 1-2-3 championship trifecta.
Van Gisbergen said on Saturday that had been a priority for the team.
“That’s something we’ve worked towards all year. We’ve worked together intensely, so it would be great,” he said.
The 27-year-old said tried to help out in Saturday’s race by overtaking McLaughlin and finishing third.
The first Kiwi champion in 25 years re-committed to Supercars after clinching the title, amid suggestions he might move overseas.
He said while his experiences abroad have been cool, the best series is Supercars.
“I’ll come back and try and defend next year,” van Gisbergen said.
TOP 10 GRID SPOTS FOR SYDNEY’S FINAL RACE
1. Garth Tander (Holden)
2. Shane van Gisbergen (Holden)
3. James Courtney (Holden)
4. David Reynolds (Holden)
5. Tim Slade (Holden)
6. Scott McLaughlin (Volvo)
7. Michael Caruso (Nissan)
8. Nick Percat (Holden)
9. Todd Kelly (Nissan)
10. Jamie Whincup (Holden)