F3

AUSF3: Oran Park Friday report

TANDER TOPS TIMES IN PRACTICE AT ORAN PARK Leanne Tander has set off to a storming start to the final round of the 2006 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship after dominating today's two practice sessions at Oran Park Raceway. Tander,...

TANDER TOPS TIMES IN PRACTICE AT ORAN PARK

Leanne Tander has set off to a storming start to the final round of the 2006 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship after dominating today's two practice sessions at Oran Park Raceway.

Tander, driving her #42 Fleetcare supported Tandersport Dallara F304, set fastest time by almost a second in today's opening 30-minute session, and backed that up by going almost half a second faster than the rest of the field in the afternoon session.

Tander enters this weekend's round at Oran Park coming off the back of a career best performance at Phillip Island in August and a strong test at the circuit a few weeks ago.

"It's going really well so far," Tander said this afternoon.

"The car is going really well. We are much slower than we went in testing but I don't think the track is very good at this stage in the weekend. It's a strong field here this weekend so it's nice to have a buffer early in the weekend.

"Hopefully we can keep it up for the rest of the round."

Chris Gilmour notched up second in both sessions today, his #17 SnatchIT.com.au Dallara seemingly strong out of the box at Oran Park despite not having competed at the 2.7km circuit since 2004 -- a round he won.

"There's a lot more to come from the car," Gilmour said.

"Like so many other circuits this year it's our first time here in the new car so it's a learning process from the outset but we know what the car can do and where we can make up the time tomorrow and Sunday. I'm quietly confident about our chances."

After scoring his first ever race win at the previous round in Queensland, Cooltemp Racing driver Tim Macrow was third fastest today, battling handling imbalances in his second outing driving the F304 -- Spiess.

Macrow headed an impressive Stuart Kostera, Chris Alajajian and Matt Sofi today as the typical mid field Formula 3 battle heats up in this weekend's final outing.

Astuti Motorsport signing Daniel Pappas was also quick on his return to open wheel-competition this weekend after a full year out of a Formula 3 seat.

Pappas was seventh fastest today but said that it was a vast change to be back in a Formula 3 car.

"It's great to be back in these cars -- they are just fantastic to drive," he enthused.

"To be honest I'm a bit disappointed with the performance because you always like to be right at the front. A half-day of testing would've been nice, but I cant be too upset -- it's just great to be back in the seat after driving Porsche's all year."

Local drivers Chris Barry and Tim Berryman split the best times in the Kumho National Class today, setting the scene for an all-New South Wales based battle in the class for '99 -- '01 Formula 3 chassis.

John Boothman completed the National Class top three today and is another set to join the leading battle for the National class this weekend.

Lauren Gray's championship hopes in the Kumho Trophy Class took a small setback today when her primary car endured problems with the exhaust between sessions, the 19-year-old Victorian switching to team boss' Bill Maddock's cars to ensure she got lap experience at the demanding Oran Park circuit.

Graeme Holmes was fastest in Trophy Class today, with two qualifying sessions scheduled for tomorrow, and two 15-lap races on Sunday to conclude the 2006 championship season.

-credit: www.formula3.com.au

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Series F3
Drivers Chris Alajajian , John Booth , Tim Macrow , Leanne Tander , Stuart Kostera , Chris Gilmour , Graeme Holmes , Lauren Gray , Phillip Island