TANDER AND MACROW BEAT THE DRAMA AND THE WEATHER IN WILD PHILLIP ISLAND FORMULA 3 FIGHT. The most competitive fight for the Australian Drivers Championship in years has got even closer following a wet and wild round of the Kumho Tyres ...
TANDER AND MACROW BEAT THE DRAMA AND THE WEATHER IN WILD PHILLIP ISLAND FORMULA 3 FIGHT.
The most competitive fight for the Australian Drivers Championship in years has got even closer following a wet and wild round of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship held today at Phillip Island.
Tim Macrow and Leanne Tander shared the glory in a day of high drama, Macrow regaining the championship lead after winning a race for the third time this year, whilst Tander won her second race of the season to follow up from her debut F3 win at the Island in May this year.
Macrow now leads Charlie Hollings by two points, with Tander still well in contention a further nine points back with just two rounds (four races) remaining.
Macrow took a stunning victory in a race one after following polesitter James Winslow for all bar one of the races 14 laps. Winslow took an early lead on a wet circuit but faced continual pressure from Macrow for most of the race. After a mid race safety-car period Macrow continued to attack and with Winslow's tyres withering was able to execute a dramatic pass at Siberia (turn five) on the final lap.
Winslow slipped to third, with a fast-finishing Charlie Hollings -- who conserved his tyres early on the drying circuit -- leaping from fifth to second in the last five laps.
Tander slipped from an early third to finish the tough race in sixth position, behind an impressive Daniel Schulz and Marco Mapelli.
Race two began in even wetter conditions and was marred by three safety car periods within the first six racing laps.
The first was to remove the damaged car of National Class Champion Chris Barry -- who crashed heavily at turn one -- and also to remove Mat Sofi's Dallara after its engine failed.
Following the restart -- after less than half a lap of racing -- Barton Mawer fired his Team Opes Prime Dallara off the circuit at the final corner, becoming bogged in the waterlogged outfield. A subsequent caution to remove the damaged cars of Marco Mapelli and Graeme Holmes meant that there was just one racing lap in the first six of the race.
On newer tyres and in an aggressive frame of mind, Leanne Tander quickly passed Charlie Hollings on the resumption of racing and then assumed the lead with a bold outside pass on Macrow over Lukey heights just a few laps later.
She won the race by over five seconds, with Macrow holding of Hollings to the line to retake the championship lead. Schulz was again an impressive fourth, leading home Chris Gilmour as the last of the surviving Championship-class runners.
James Winslow (broken fourth gear), joined a long line of retirements including Mapelli, Mawer, Holmes and Barry in a dramatic and attrition-filled race.
Ian Dyk failed to start the race after his Scud Racing team discovered a cracked rear-wing mount moments before the race began, whilst Impressive South Australian teenager Jesse Wakeman won the National Class in style.
A relieved Macrow said the tough weekend was worth it for his regained championship points lead.
"I was just happy to finish second in the second race to be sure I got the championship lead," he said.
"We had old rubber on the car and had it dried it further it would've been fine -- but I couldn't get heat into them with the safety cars and I just wanted to finish. Race one was rough but it was a fantastic result. The entire team has done such an excellent job.
"I was happy to be second in R2 to make sure I got the championship lead, so it's been a tough but very good weekend for us."
Tander said that the race two win made up for the dramas of the day's first event.
"In the race I did poorly in Tim and Charlie happened to do well so It wasn't great for us," she said.
"But I got plenty of points back when I won race two which was fantastic. To win this championship someone is going to need to win the next couple of races, it's that competitive. We are looking good for at least third, although it's still not good enough, but I'm just going out to focus on winning the next four races and the championship will look after itself.
Charlie Hollings -- the points leader before the round -- said that he found the weekend an exercise in damage limitation.
"We had loads of understeer in race two," Hollings said.
"We couldn't risk making a pass and we were just tip-toeing around. When the weather is like this it's all about damage limitation and making sure we get the points in the end. It's still very close.
"Race one was a good result, to come from sixth to second. We were quick at the end and we got some good points."
The next (penultimate) round of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star will be held at Symmons Plains raceway on September 1 -- 2.