Leanne Tander has won her first race of the 2008 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship season at one of her favourite tracks, Oran Park Raceway, in Sydney at the weekend. TanderSport had to fight back from a massive rebuild effort on the...
Leanne Tander has won her first race of the 2008 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship season at one of her favourite tracks, Oran Park Raceway, in Sydney at the weekend.
TanderSport had to fight back from a massive rebuild effort on the #42 Dallara F307 after a crash on Friday -- where Leanne and three others made heavy contact with an unsighted car in practice -- to come though from third on the grid to win race one.
It was her first win for the season, the first at her home track and the best result at a circuit where she has scored three pole positions and multiple podium finishes in the last two seasons -- but had not been able to break though to record a win.
It was part of a convincing two-car performance from TanderSport, as newcomer Ben Crighton scored two National Class podiums on his debut with the team and in Formula 3 competition - completing a fantastic return to the top for TanderSport after a tough Clipsal 500 in February.
Tander made a strong start from the second row of the grid in race one, taking advantage of polesitter Neil McFadyen stalling to leap to the race lead -- one she held for the duration of what ended up being a shortened race due to several incidents further down the field.
It was Leanne's third Formula 3 race win and immediately vaulted her from sixth to fourth in the championship.
In race two she started fourth but was shuffled down one position at the start to finish a solid fifth, to leave the weekend with her best points' haul of the season.
Leanne has now scored 48 points -- just 24 behind leader James Winslow with five rounds remaining.
New Zealander Ben Crighton joined TanderSport for the first time on Friday and immediately settled into the team and the Formula 3 car, showing increasing pace and confidence throughout the weekend.
Crighton qualified sixth in class for both races but his proven race craft came to the fore when the red light went off -- avoiding many of the dramas occurring around him to finish a strong second (in class) in race one, and third in race two.
He scored 27 championship points and jumped to fifth in the National Class standings.
TanderSport will look to build on their excellent Oran Park weekend when the team heads to South Australia's Mallala Raceway, between May 16 -- 18.
Leanne Tander - #42 TanderSport Dallara F307 Mercedes Benz
"It's nice to win here. It's a couple of years overdue. The last few years I've been on pole and scored some podium finishes but I haven't been able to turn that into a win, so I'm very happy.
"It's nice to bounce back (after the crashes). If I'm going to win this championship I have to win races so this is a good start. Race two was a bit more difficult but that's what this track is like -- a good start is so important because if you're behind someone you get stuck.
"We're moving to Mallala and Phillip Island next; they are two tracks where I have been very strong in the past. I'm confident there and both have room to pass so I'm looking forward to building on the results we scored this weekend."
Ben Crighton - #52 TanderSport Dallara F304 Spiess Opel
"It's been tough, I didn't have a lot of time on the track before racing so it was a bit of a challenge -- I've been here before but nothing quite prepares you for these sorts of things (F3 cars).
"I ran with some of the guys who have been around for a while which was good -- I'm looking forward to perhaps coming back to do some more rounds, so we'll see what happens.
"The main problem I had was getting used to the Aero. The cars I'm used to don't have a lot of aero -- it's more for show -- but with these cars the aero is so important so it was all about adapting to that and trusting it.
"TanderSport have been great to work with -- the car ran like a dream all weekend."
Garth Tander -- TanderSport Co-Owner / Team Manager
"Race one was great and Leanne was nice and aggressive into turn one and got us track position; we knew that track position here was important because it's so hard to pass. We had good car speed because we set the fastest lap.
"Race two was going to be a bit more difficult because she was on the outside of the second row so she got muscled wide and a couple got though in turn one -- and once you're in the congo line it's hard to get to the front.
"It's great to win the first race after the Clipsal crash and the Friday crash here, so it's not all bad.
"I couldn't be happier for Ben. It was important for him to stay on the track and get miles. It was difficult for him because the first time he sat in the car was on Thursday Morning, so to come away with two podiums is exactly what the plan was coming into the weekend.
"He got faster and faster in every session and we're really happy with his progress."