LEANNE TANDER THE NEW FORMULA 3 POINTS LEADER Leanne Tander has gained the outright lead of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the first time with just one round of the 2007 season remaining. A pair of second-place finishes...
LEANNE TANDER THE NEW FORMULA 3 POINTS LEADER
Leanne Tander has gained the outright lead of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the first time with just one round of the 2007 season remaining.
A pair of second-place finishes at Symmons Plains raceway at the weekend was enough to leap the Fleetcare TanderSport driver from third to first in the standings, Tander now leading the race for the Australian Drivers Championship by four points.
It is the first time Leanne has lead the Formula 3 championship since joining the series -- a result of hard work and determination after a difficult start to the year saw her more than 15 points behind the leader after the first round.
Tander was on the money from the get go at Symmons, scoring pole position for race one in the dying seconds of the first qualifying session on Saturday.
She then missed a front row starting position by an agonising tenth of a second in qualifying for the Inaugural Country Club Tasmania Formula 3 SuperPrix race later that afternoon, lining up fourth.
In race one Tander and James Winslow staged a classic wheel to wheel duel for the entire 24-lap duration, Tander dropping to second at the start however working her way back to the lead mid-race with a bold move into the final corner.
After a safety car period Winslow was able to retake the position and was able to record the win ahead of the Fleetcare car, Tander realising Winslow was not in the championship battle and electing to make the finish once she had been re-passed.
In the 30-lap feature race Tander jumped to third on the opening lap and quickly took advantage of gearbox dramas from championship rival Charlie Hollings to move into second on the seventh lap.
From there she asserted considerable pressure on leader Barton Mawer but in a final three lap sprint to the flag was unable to get past -- settling for second.
The points scored, however, elevated Leanne from third to first in the championship for the first time this year.
Tander said that she was able to meet her aims for the weekend by virtue of taking the points lead.
"We came to Tasmania looking to close the gap, and we came away from it leading so it's been a pleasing weekend," she said.
"However it's so close at the front that the three of us (Tander, Charlie Hollings and Tim Macrow) may as well be on the same points. I came out in front but it comes down to the last two races of the season at Oran Park where the championship will be decided."
"During both races I realised that James (race 1) and Bart (race 2) weren't in the championship hunt so I didn't need to take risks trying to pass them.
"I think I let the race one win go too easily but because I was in front of the other contenders it wasn't a huge loss.
"I think we played it smart last weekend," She added.
"Because of that I'm leading the championship which is the ideal position to be in heading to Oran Park."
The final round of the year will be held at the Sydney Circuit in early November, Leanne having qualified on the front row there the last two times the championship visited.