DOUBLE POLE FOR TANDER AT ORAN PARK, MACROW AND HOLLINGS IN TOP THREE. Leanne Tander scored the top spot twice in today's final pair of qualifying sessions for the 2007 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship, at Oran Park. Weather...
DOUBLE POLE FOR TANDER AT ORAN PARK, MACROW AND HOLLINGS IN TOP THREE.
Leanne Tander scored the top spot twice in today's final pair of qualifying sessions for the 2007 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship, at Oran Park.
Weather played a major role in the day, as it did yesterday, with the track wet for qualifying one and dry for the afternoon session -- but the result was the same on both accounts as Tander banked pole laps late in the session to score the top spot.
Crucially, for the tight title race, Tander scored two more valuable championship points to extend her lead to seven markers with two races left.
A drying track in qualifying one ensured a thrilling shootout right to the chequered flag, Leanne's 1m10.3934s just three tenths faster than Tim Macrow and Charlie Hollings.
Incidentally the three championship contenders qualified first, second and third -- in correct championship order.
In qualifying two scintillatingly close times were a feature, Leanne (1m04.6282) scoring pole over Barton Mawer (+0.0264s), Charlie Hollings (+0.0691) and Tim Macrow (+0.0740) -- the top four split by less than one tenth of a second.
Appropriate for the season finale, it was the closest qualifying session of the season.
"I couldn't believe it was that close when the team told me the times in qualifying two," Leanne said after scoring her fourth pole position of the season.
"I'm not getting to excited because today doesn't mean a great deal -- the real points are to be scored tomorrow. But I think the result is indicative of how we have improved as a team consistently all season long.
"It's all coming together but there are still two races to go and it's very competitive." She said.
Contenders Tim Macrow and Charlie Hollings had mixed days -- Macrow rebounding strongly from a practice session crash yesterday to lock away a front row start for the first race tomorrow.
In the second session some slower traffic stopped him from getting closer to, or even beating, the pole-winning time.
"We are close, and it's nice to be there after the day we had yesterday," Macrow mused.
"The team has done a great job to bounce back from a really tough day yesterday. There is a lot of racing left and we're on the front row for race two, so anything can happen."
Hollings took his Astuti Motorsport #11 car to second-row starting positions for both races tomorrow, qualifying third for both sessions.
"We'll see what happens tomorrow," Hollings said.
"This can all change so quickly. In race two at Symmons we went from being in front of the championship to third so it only takes one race for it to change around.
"Tim certainly won't give Leanne any room in race one so anything could certainly happen."
Barton Mawer scored a front-row start for the second race after struggling to find pace from his #3 Opes Prime / Team BRM Dallara in the first, wet, session.
Mawer also noted that his non-involvement in the championship battle left him open to just focussing on the race itself.
"I have no sympathies, no alliances so it's game on tomorrow," Mawer grinned.
"Our pace in the wet is not great which is odd because we were fast in Tasmania when it was even wetter.
"In the dry the car was good. It's just so close. I can do my own race tomorrow and let the championship contenders do their own thing so it should be really interesting."
"Having said that, I'm open to bribes!" he joked.
Walter Grubmuller took his #10 Astuti Motorsport car to a pair of fifth place results today, Chris Gilmour and Mat Sofi sixth and seventh in each session.
Chris Barry took a pair of National Class pole positions, clearly enjoying a pressure free weekend having already clinched the championship several rounds ago.
This weekend marks the first time that three female competitors have raced in the Formula 3 championship, Lauren Gray and Samantha Reid backing up Tander's efforts admirably in their respective Trophy and National class cars.
Reid was impressive in her Trophy Class Dallara, less than half a second behind Barry's National Class entry in the wet first session, whilst she also showed strong pace in the second session to score another class pole.
On her F3 return Lauren Gray qualified second in National class on both occasions, showing solid speed in the second session.
Two 15-lap races will conclude the 51st Australian Drivers Championship for the CAMS Gold Star tomorrow. <pre> Results -- Qualifying One
1. Leanne Tander 1m10.3934 2. Tim Macrow + 0.3280 3. Charlie Hollings + 0.3973 4. Barton Mawer + 0.7148 5. Walter Grubmuller + 1.5553
National: Chris Barry 1m18.0677 Trophy: Samantha Reid 1m18.4227
Results -- Qualifying Two
1. Leanne Tander 1m04.6282 2. Barton Mawer + 0.0264 3. Charlie Hollings + 0.0691 4. Tim Macrow + 0.0740 5. Walter Grubmuller + 0.9044
National: Chris Barry 1m08.4360 Trophy: Samantha Reid 1m10.7308
Championship Points -- After Qualifying
1. Leanne Tander 178 2. Tim Macrow 172 3. Charlie Hollings 169