BRILLIANT BARTON WINS COUNTRY CLUB TASMANIA FORMULA 3 SUPERPRIX, TANDER TAKES SERIES LEAD [SP1.jpg] Sydney driver Barton Mawer has won a dramatic Country Club Tasmania Formula 3 SuperPrix at Symmons Plains...
BRILLIANT BARTON WINS COUNTRY CLUB TASMANIA FORMULA 3 SUPERPRIX, TANDER TAKES SERIES LEAD [SP1.jpg] Sydney driver Barton Mawer has won a dramatic Country Club Tasmania Formula 3 SuperPrix at Symmons Plains raceway in Tasmania today.
Opes Prime / Team BRM driver Mawer held off concerted pressure from Leanne Tander for the 30-lap duration of the event, securing a five-night accommodation package from Country Club Tasmania for two, as well as the inaugural John Bowe Trophy.
The race was dramatic for several reasons, not the least for it's affect on the championship standings -- the points order completely reversed heading into the final round with Leanne Tander now leading Tim Macrow and Charlie Hollings in the race for the CAMS Gold Star.
Mawer made the best start and led the field into turn one, polesitter Charlie Hollings slotting into second ahead of Tander and Winslow.
In dramatic fashion, Marco Mapelli and Winslow clashed heading down the high speed back stretch, leaving the Opes Prime driver spinning off the circuit and into retirement -- a cruel way to end his weekend after a storming race one win.
Mapelli was later black-flagged as a result of the incident and was relegated to fifth at the flag.
The dramas continued just a few moments later when points leader Charlie Hollings' Astuti Motorsport Dallara broke it's gearbox, leaving him slowing dramatically and stuck in third gear for the remainder of the race.
Hollings eventually limped the car to the flag three laps down in ninth place to secure four vital championship points to keep him well in the hunt.
A three-lap sprint the flag completed the drama after Mat Sofi collected Daniel Schulz -- who was a lap behind -- on the run into the hairpin.
The Total Developments car was stranded on the circuit and brought the day's second safety car out to the track.
On the restart Mawer's Opes Prime / BRM entry was able to hold off concerted pressure from Tander and a resurgent Macrow -- who survived the carnage to finish on the podium -- to record a stunning victory.
"I can't believe it, I'm over the moon," Mawer enthused.
"It's been a very long time between drinks for me because my last real race win in this category was about 2003 so I'm just stoked.
"I entered the championship at the last round and since then it's been fantastic. This win is a credit to Opes Prime and Team BRM for preparing the car. It's a great feeling.
"Everyone knows what John (Bowe) has done in Australian Motorsport so to win the Trophy named after him is a great honour. I'm also looking forward to coming down here soon to take up my five nights at the Country Club!"
Leanne Tander applied pressure to Mawer at the end of the race however resisted the temptation to make a last-ditch lunge at the eventual winner.
"I'm happy with second because it's put us in a great position in the championship," Tander said.
"Our car was good but I just didn't quite have the pace to get Barton. In the end I guess I settled for second and the championship points.
"It's been a great weekend. The event has been successful and I'm really pleased to be leading in the championship."
Macrow's day was a tale of the great escape, getting onto the podium despite a lack of pace in comparison to the leading contenders.
"I'm pleased," he said.
"Third is a good result given we didn't really have the pace to compete for the win this weekend. It's a reward for the team and for our championship. We may not be leading but we're not far behind so we are still very much a shot at this."
The championship is as close as ever but its Leanne Tander leading for the first time this year -- now with 176 points to Macrow's 172.
Hollings sits third (169) with James Winslow some 36 points from the lead now the last realistic title contender.
The final round of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship will be held at Sydney's Oran Park Raceway in November.
Race Results -- Country Club Tasmania Formula 3 SuperPrix
1. Barton Mawer
2. Leanne Tander
3. Tim Macrow
4. Chris Gilmour
5. Marco Mapelli
Championship Points (After 7 of 8 rounds)
1. Leanne Tander 176
2. Tim Macrow 172
3. Charlie Hollings 169
4. James Winslow 133
5. Marco Mapelli 114