Leanne Tander finished second in race two at Eastern Creek at the weekend. She's still third in the championship. Fleetcare TanderSport driver Leanne Tander remains within ten points of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship lead...
Leanne Tander finished second in race two at Eastern Creek at the weekend. She's still third in the championship.
Fleetcare TanderSport driver Leanne Tander remains within ten points of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship lead after scoring her fifth race podium of the year at Eastern Creek Raceway in Sydney.
Leanne finished second in race two to finish off a solid comeback from a rough start to the weekend.
A broken gear selection cable just minutes into the opening practice session on Friday morning left the #42 Fleetcare Dallara with just one solitary lap on the board for the 30-minute session and immediately behind the eight ball.
After logging the sixth-best time in practice two, Leanne battled a lack of grip to qualify a lowly seventh for the first race.
Wholesale changes to the car between sessions, however, provided the desired results and delivered Tander her second career Formula 3 pole position and first for the season.
Tander's 1m24.9523s lap was just .091s faster than second-placed Marco Mapelli in a remarkably close field that saw the top five cars covered by less than two tenths of a second -- one of the closest sessions in the series' eight-year history.
"It's fantastic," She said after qualifying.
"To get this -- my first for the year -- after where we were in qualifying one is a great comeback. After Tim (Macrow) got pole for race one we needed the point so this is satisfying."
In race one Tander engaged in a close dice with James Winslow for a majority of the 14-laps, eventually gaining the upper hand on lap nine when she slipped past the British driver into the turn nine hairpin -- finishing fifth after starting the race seventh.
A slightly slower start than Mapelli in race two left Tander second on the opening lap of the second race -- Tander closing in towards the end of the race to finish less than a second behind the eventual winner to score a solid second.
The race was shortened to 11 laps from the originally scheduled 14 following a delay in the program after an incident in an earlier race, possibly negating any chance Tander had of catching or passing Mapelli.
It was her fifth podium of the season (from ten races) and her ninth consecutive top five race finish -- a positive fight back and consolidation of her championship position from what could have been a particularly tough weekend.
"If the race went to its usual distance I think I could have caught him, but passing here would have been very tough," She said following the second race.
"It's a positive end to a weekend that could have been much worse, especially after the first qualifying session.
"We have gained ground on Tim Macrow but lost a little bit overall -- I know that I need to win more races this year and fortunately we are heading into some strong circuits for me -- I won at Phillip Island (the scene of round six in three weeks) last time out -- so we are right in with a shot at this."
The Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit -- the scene, in May, of Leanne Tander and Fleetcare TanderSport's first race wins in Formula 3 -- will host round six of the championship on August 10 -- 12.
TanderSport and Leanne Tander thank the ongoing support of their sponsors Fleetcare, HSV, Holden, Greenwood & Freehills, Valvoline, Web105.com.au and My105.com.