TANDERSPORT has got a leg up on the competition ahead of the 2009 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship following a successful test at Mallala Raceway, near Adelaide, last Friday (14 November).

New Zealander Ben Crighton drove the #42 TanderSport Dallara F307 - Mercedes Benz entry used to great success this season by Leanne Tander, winning five races and finishing on the podium nine times from 15 races.

In preparation for an attack on the Australian Drivers Championship next year, the 26-year-old completed a full day of running at the 2.6km circuit to help the adaptation from his National-Class Dallara F304 he utilised this season. The latest-model Dallara features more aerodynamic grip than the older cars and has lapped substantially quicker this year, especially on the faster tracks.

Though running during an open practice day ensured plenty of traffic, the team worked though a solid checklist of tasks designed to bring Ben up to speed and by the end of the day left pleased with the results.

"Ben did a great job, we were very pleased with what was achieved given the conditions and the slower traffic he had to work around," TanderSport team manager Leanne Tander said.

"We didn't get as many clear laps as we would have liked but Ben showed plenty of improvement and positive gains that we were looking for at the start of the day. I think he showed with the job he did that he is heading in the right direction to be a strong contender next season."

"The F307 car just does everything better than the '04, it's just a big step up so it was great to get a taste of that well in advance of the new season," Ben Crighton said.

"The day was made up of lots of short sessions of only eight or nine laps each but I think we made some really good progress with what we set out to achieve. We came to Mallala because it's a hard track on brakes and that was probably my biggest weakness this season. We definitely made progress which was positive as braking is even more important in the '07 car.

"It was good to run at a track I hadn't been at before and one we may well be back to next year. I'm looking forward to getting our testing program in place and getting back in the car!"

TanderSport are continuing preparations for the 2009 Australian Formula 3 Championship and are currently talking to several drivers to potentially fill a second seat at the team for next year.

The 2009 Australian Drivers Championship will kick off at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide between March 19 - 22.

-credit: tandersport.com