THE MARGIN CLOSES AS LEANNE TANDER FIGHTS TO MALLALA PODIUM Fleetcare TanderSport continues to climb closer to the front of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship standings after Leanne Tander raced to an aggressive race one podium ...
THE MARGIN CLOSES AS LEANNE TANDER FIGHTS TO MALLALA PODIUM
Fleetcare TanderSport continues to climb closer to the front of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship standings after Leanne Tander raced to an aggressive race one podium finish in round four, yesterday.
Thanks to that and a solid fourth-placed run to the flag in race two, Leanne sits just six points from the lead of the Australian Drivers Championship at the series half-way point.
At the tricky 2.6km Mallala circuit in South Australia 25-year-old Tander bounced back from a disappointing qualifying day to record a stunning drive in challenging wet / dry conditions in yesterday's opening 18-lap race.
Tander had qualified sixth for the race some six-tenths from pole position, but took a gamble on wet tyres -- along with several other leading contenders -- on a drying circuit.
She flew through the field following the start, before an altercation with Tim Macrow at the turn seven hairpin at the end of lap one left her with a broken front wing and ninth on the road. A series of breathtaking overtaking manoeuvres elevated her to the top five by half-race distance and into second position with three laps to go.
Despite applying significant pressure to race leader James Winslow in the closing three laps Tander was unable to pass for the lead and missed out on the win by less than a second.
The unpredictable race elevated her to second in the standings between the two races, just one point behind Winslow.
In race two the #42 Fleetcare entry was unable to replicate the storming charge witnessed in the earlier event, but showed consistent late-race pace en route to a solid fourth-place finish.
The results dropped Tander back to third in the standings however the margin between her and the series lead was halved throughout the weekend.
Leanne has now scored 94 points, trailing only Charlie Hollings (95) and Macrow (100) with half the season yet to race.
Tander said that the weekend brought results that neither she nor the team were expecting after a difficult qualifying day.
"I thought it was going to be a tough day given where we qualified," she said.
"Mallala is a tough track to pass on and I wasn't confident that we had the speed to challenge. We made a good call with the tyres in race one and the first race went very well. I should have won it, though -- and would have if Tim hadn't shut the door on the opening lap.
"In race two our times were comparable to the leaders (Tander's best lap was just 2/10ths slower than the race's quickest) at the end but by then the gap was too big to claw back."
As the championship moves into its second half Leanne said she was pleased to have clawed back the gap to the points lead after loosing ground in the first round.
"We have made up more than 20 points to everyone else up to this point in time," Tander said following the second race.
"If we can keep doing that we'll be looking pretty good for the second half of the season."
The next round of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship will be held in two weeks time at Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway, between June 13 -- 15.