2 April 2021 |

Garth Tander leads competitive opening GT practice at Bathurst

Practice for the second round of Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS at Mount Panorama kicked off in competitive fashion as Garth Tander led the field.

Melbourne Performance Centre driver Tander demonstrated strong early pace in the Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo he shares with Yasser Shahin, ending out Practice 1 eight-tenths of a second clear of the field.

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Conditions were perfect for fast lap times, with Tander’s session-topping 2:04.948s setting the benchmark for rivals in the opening 30-minute hit out of the weekend.

The Nissan GTR NISMO GT3 of Brett Hobson had a spurt at the top of the timesheets before being pipped by Stephen Grove at the wheel of the Grove Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Grove was consecutively the first man in the 2:07s, 2:06s, and 2:05s, showing his Bathurst experience early in the weekend with a time of 2:05.867s.

Tander wound up his Audi and went quicker in the final three minutes on a 2:05.698s followed by an even better 2:04.948s lap time.

That was enough to give the current championship leaders Practice 1 honours, while Grove improved slightly to 2:05.807s to secure second position.

Hobson held onto third as the best of the Trophy class runners, ahead of fourth-placed Shane van Gisbergen in the Triple Eight Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

Rounding out the top five was the Tony Bates/Chaz Mostert Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo, 3.4s off the pace.

Practice 2 for GT World Challenge Australia takes place at 14:55 local time.