SPEEDY TANDERSPORT TRIO EXPERIENCE PHILLIP ISLANDS HIGHS AND LOWS TanderSport may have endured a frustrating weekend at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit when it came to results -- but the team takes positive momentum forward after a strong...
SPEEDY TANDERSPORT TRIO EXPERIENCE PHILLIP ISLANDS HIGHS AND LOWS
TanderSport may have endured a frustrating weekend at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit when it came to results -- but the team takes positive momentum forward after a strong weekend overall in round five of the 2008 Kumho Tyres Australian F3 Championship.
TanderSport ran three cars for the first time with all three drivers performing exceptionally well throughout the event.
Leanne Tander continued her charge towards the Australian Drivers' Championship after a strong podium finish in race one, and whilst frustrated with a drive-through penalty in race two still managed to break the five-year old F3 lap record at Phillip Island.
Tander has now jumped to second in the championship with 110 points -- 18 points off the lead with six races left this year.
TanderSport National Class drivers Mathew Radisich and Ben Crighton had mixed weekend but both set times that placed them at the very front of the Formula 3 'race within a race' at the weekend.
Radisich -- in his first race with TanderSport -- made a fantastic debut with the team and twice finished third in the National class and jumped to third in the class standings with three rounds remaining.
Kiwi Ben Crighton, in his second round, quickly adapted to the Phillip Island circuit and was one of the fastest National Class cars all weekend, before a pair of unfortunate events set him back on race day.
In race one an axle broke during the race, putting him out. In 49 race starts (across two classes) it was TanderSports first ever mechanical DNF.
Crighton was keen to bounce back in race two but was caught up with another competitor on the opening lap, who spun on the inside of the #52 TanderSport car and made contact, damaging Ben's car and putting him out after only two corners.
Despite the highs and lows experienced by TanderSport across the Phillip Island weekend, team co-owner Garth Tander said that the expansion to a three-car operation had proven to be a success.
"Everything went very smoothly and to plan," Garth Tander said.
"We made sure that we had all the right people in the right places and when you've got a great team you know that they will go about their jobs with no fuss and get it done.
"Expanding a team is never easy, but we have three great mechanics and a great crew of personnel that made it very easy in what was a trying and challenging weekend for the team. I'm very happy."
TanderSport will next be in action during round six of the 2008 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship at Eastern Creek Raceway -- the scene of a Leanne Tander pole position earlier this year -- between July 11 -- 13.
Leanne Tander -- TanderSport Dallara F307 -- Mercedes Benz
"It was a frustrating weekend for us and I didn't achieve what I wanted to, which was to leave a lot closer to the series leader. I came into the round 7 points behind and the gap is now 18 so that's frustrating given the speed we had.
"We couldn't match Caratti for power down out of MG and turn 11 in race one and he was able to slipstream me and get past -- and I couldn't when I was behind. Second was a good result and the points were handy so in the end it wasn't bad.
"Race two was very frustrating. Once I had been given the drive through penalty I just dealt with it and went about trying to recover as much ground as possible. The lap record I set was a pretty good indication that we had improved the car during the race and the extra point for the fastest lap helped.
"The run home for us is very strong and If I had to pick the next three track we go to, Eastern Creek, Phillip Island and Symmons would be it. I'll go into every race with the aim of winning them and if we can do that then we will be a chance at the championship."
Mathew Radisich -- McDonalds NZ / HT Leads / DBA TanderSport Dallara F304 -- Spiess Opel
"My first weekend with TanderSport has been fantastic. The team has done a great job and it's been a fantastic experience working with them. It's been great to come back to the series and finish on the podium and race competitively after having a tough start to the weekend. It's been great to work with TanderSport and I'm looking forward to building more success with them."
Ben Crighton -- TanderSport Dallara F304 -- Spiess Opel
"My first visit to Phillip Island in an F3 car was a mixed one but very enjoyable. Phillip Island is an awesome track and a great challenge but the team has been great helping me get up to speed here.
The car was good in qualifying and I was always pretty confident that we would have a good race package. We had a very fast car in the first race up to the point where the axle broke, which was really unfortunate. I'm certainly hoping to come back and do more with TanderSport in the future because, aside from the bad luck this weekend, it's been brilliant."
Garth Tander -- TanderSport co-owner / Team Manager
"It was certainly an up and down weekend for TanderSport at Phillip Island, but there's no doubt we were quick enough.
"Leanne's qualifying speed was good and obviously we were very pleased with pole position for race one. We set the car up for the wet conditions early in race one and that cost us in the race and didn't give us quite enough to hold of Caratti - but second was great for the championship points.
"Race two was very frustrating, with some questionable tactics on the restart, as there is no doubt Leanne had the fastest car on the track shown by the fact she reset the lap record.
"Mathew and Ben endured a difficult weekend thanks to the changeable weather conditions which is never ideal for young drivers and trying to gain experience, but both ended up doing a great job.
"Mathew was great and gained speed all weekend to eventually come home with two podiums in the National Class and positions inside the top ten outright. We were very disappointed that Ben had an axle break in race one as it's the first mechanical non-finish in the history of TanderSport.
"But he was one of the fastest National Class cars on the track and we were really pleased with his performance."