F3

AUSF3: Phillip Island test - Tander interview

Leanne Tander scored two podium finishes at Oran Park last weekend. Currently fourth in the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 championship, Fleetcare TanderSport driver Leanne Tander heads to the awesome Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit in ...

Leanne Tander scored two podium finishes at Oran Park last weekend.

Currently fourth in the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 championship, Fleetcare TanderSport driver Leanne Tander heads to the awesome Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit in Victoria for the third round of 2007 this weekend.

Driving her Fleetcare Dallara F304 -- Holden #42 entry, and coming off the back of a pair of podium finishes at Oran Park two weeks ago, Tander will be looking to take a step forward in the series thanks to a strong round at the high speed circuit south of Melbourne.

Phillip Island has been a strong circuit for Leanne since joining the Australian Drivers Championship -- she finished inside the top six in her F3 debut there in 2005, and scored her career first Formula 3 Pole Position at the track last August -- going on to finish on the podium in the process.

With the series rapidly approaching the half way point, Leanne sat down and talked about the thrill of racing at Australia's fastest circuit and her current position in the championship.

Q. Phillip Island is the quickest track in the country. What's it like to drive one of the quickest cars in the sport around it?

I have been around there in a V8 Supercar, a Formula Ford and many other cars but the F3 car is the most enjoyable to drive around the track -- a circuit that is one of my favourites.

It's not until you get in an F3 car until you realise how well the cars are suited to the circuit -- it suits them really well.

Q. So what makes it so good?

It's everything -- I think because it's a flowing circuit once you have the grip and the downforce of a Formula 3 car you can flow the car and build up a rhythm -- it's like the car is on rails around there which is a fantastic feeling.

Q. Is it a circuit where the driver, and not necessarily the car can make a difference between pole and, say, third on the grid, or in a race?

I think so. I have always been quick there in anything I've driven -- I've always been in the front couple. It's certainly a gutsy circuit -- even with the extra grip and aero of an F3 car the circuit still requires that little bit extra from the diver to get the most out of the car.

I think it's one of those tracks where if you try to hard it can cost you time. There is a balance to be found between pushing hard and not overdriving the car.

Q. What are the key parts of Phillip Island when it comes to putting together a good race or a good lap?

It's hard to make any advantage through turn one because everyone is flat out through there -- at 255kph -- but I think turn two is critical.

Turn two is important because you need a good exit to get the run out of the southern loop, through the turn three kink and down towards the turn four hairpin which is a really good passing opportunity.

If you don't get a good run out of two it can hurt you and cost you positions.

Another key area is coming out of MG, after Lukey Heights. Because you are basically flat all the way around the circuit from MG to the braking zone at turn two you have to make sure that you are carrying as much speed as possible otherwise people will easily be able to draft you and get by on the straight.

You can pass around the outside of turn one so it's hard to defend if someone has drafted you down the straight.

Q. What is it about the place that really suits the style of Leanne Tander?

My driving style, naturally, is smooth and flowing and I think it's natural to drive the way that really suits Phillip Island.

There are other tracks where I have to drive a little bit sideways -- on edge -- whereas Phillip Island I can drive it the way I want to drive it and I think that really helps.

Q. Rate your season out of ten so far...

I would say about seven. It hasn't been the best start to the year and I feel I could be a bit further up, but unfortunately we had a couple of incidents at Eastern Creek that weren't 100% my fault and they set us back.

We're not a million miles away in the championship but because it's such a short season -- we've already done two rounds and have six more to go -- and I'm already 20 points behind it's going to be hard work to catch up.

I'm aware that this round is important for me to start clawing back the points and taking chunks out of the lead of the championship.

Leanne will test at Phillip Island this Wednesday in preparation for this weekends thirds round of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship

-credit: www.formula3.com.au.

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About this article
Series F3
Drivers Leanne Tander , Phillip Island