2008 GOLD STAR TITLE FIGHT CLOSER THAN EVER AFTER TANDER AND CARATTI WIN AT MALLALA The battle for the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 championship for the CAMS Gold Star is now closer than ever after Leanne Tander and Nathan Caratti won the...
2008 GOLD STAR TITLE FIGHT CLOSER THAN EVER AFTER TANDER AND CARATTI WIN AT MALLALA
The battle for the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 championship for the CAMS Gold Star is now closer than ever after Leanne Tander and Nathan Caratti won the two races contested at Mallala raceway, today, that made up round four of the 2008 series.
27 points behind the leader before the round, Tander's race one win this morning vaulted her to within 10 points of the championship lead whilst Team BRM driver Nathan Caratti's race two triumph put him back in front of the series -- Caratti having led after the opening round at Eastern Creek in early February.
As a result the top four drivers in the race for the 52nd Australian Drivers' Championship are covered by just eight points; Caratti (93 points) leading Neil McFadyen (89), James Winslow (86) and Tander (85).
In a day that dawned wet but stayed dry throughout, Tander led race one from pole position after fending off a solid attack from Caratti during the races' 14-lap duration.
Behind the two leaders National class driver and F3 returnee Karl Reindler finished third after holding off a pack of potentially faster championship cars that were unable to pass, including Nick Percat (Walkinshaw Performance / Team BRM F307 Mercedes), Mat Sofi (Transwest Racing) and Neil McFadyen (Piccola Scuderia).
McFadyen had held off Sofi for a majority of race however Sofi was able to pass heading into the final corner of the final lap to record his best finish of the season.
Tander was the first driver this season to win twice, five different drivers winning from the first five races this season.
Reindler was the National Class winner, ahead of point leader Chris Gilmour and new Piccola Scuderia driver Justin Tate.
In race two outright polesitter Neil McFadyen was slow away, Caratti taking the advantage into turn one with McFadyen, Percat and Tander following.
Tander quickly passed Percat and, after a multiple-lap dice, passed McFadyen to end the race in second, setting the races' fastest lap in the process.
Caratti, though, recorded a 1-second race win -- his second of the season -- and vaulted himself into the championship lead in the process.
Reindler again won National Class with Lee Farrell second and Tate again third in class.
Outright championship leader prior to this weekend, James Winslow, had a better day today than the rest of his weekend had transpired.
Winslow stalled at the start of race one, but recovered to finish 10th outright and 6th in the Gold Star class, whilst he took his Astuti Motorsport #11 car to a much-improved fifth place outright in race two in a good effort in damage control after a tough start to his weekend.
Today's racing was relatively incident free -- with only one safety car needed for the weekend after National Class driver Ash Samadi and Stuart Kostera found themselves off the track at turn five, in race one.
Race winner Leanne Tander said that she considered this weekend one of her best ever in F3.
"It was a great weekend," Tander enthused.
"(Race 1) was the perfect race for us. The car was excellent and it allowed me to do what I needed to do to keep the win. I've said often that I need to win races to win the championship and that's what I've done two rounds in a row.
"It's pleasing that I've won here -- I've now won at two tracks that I've never won at before, which is great. With Phillip Island next things are looking good for us."
New championship leader Nathan Caratti was pleased to have broken a three-round streak without a race win -- doubly so given that he launched his #5 Team BRM Dallara F307 -- Mercedes entry into the championship lead.
"I finally got off the line well in race one and got into the lead into turn one," Caratti said.
"Once I saw that I had a good lead -- and I was pulling away from the field -- I settled in and made sure that I held the gap to the finish.
"After Eastern Creek it was a bit disappointing to get another win so it's nice to get it here and get ourselves into the championship lead."
A great story emerged from within the Formula 3 trophy class -- South Australian driver Jesse Wakeman winning his class in the second race just days after piecing together a $50,000 rebuild of his Dallara F301 -- Spiess.
Wakeman finished second -- behind class leader Andrew Mill -- in race one however was able to win his class in the second to reward his team and supporters for a fortnight of hard work to rebuild the car.
The next round of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star award will be held at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit between June 13 -- 15.