TANDER AND WINSLOW RACE THE WEATHER TO SCORE PHILLIP ISLAND POLE POSITIONS WEATHER has once again played a role in determining grid spots for the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship as Leanne Tander and James Winslow locked out the two...
TANDER AND WINSLOW RACE THE WEATHER TO SCORE PHILLIP ISLAND POLE POSITIONS
WEATHER has once again played a role in determining grid spots for the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship as Leanne Tander and James Winslow locked out the two top spots, respectively, on qualifying day at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit.
Tander scored pole for race one on a drying track this morning whilst Winslow was quickest in Qualifying two before a light shower ended any chance of anyone improving on his mark.
The bonus point awarded to each driver edged each of them closer to the championship lead -- Winslow now within six points of Nathan Caratti and Tander just one further behind.
A rain shower moments before the first 20-minute session wet the track and ensured that the times would fall throughout its duration though a crash by Ash Samadi -- who left the track and made contact with the wall at Lukey Heights -- brought out the red flag half way though the session.
The rain then again began to fall and only a few drivers were able to improve on their exiting times, Tander holding on to take her fourth pole position of the season ahead of Neil McFadyen.
Championship leader Nathan Caratti was fourth, second-round driver John Magro an impressive fifth, Winslow sixth and Transwest Racing driver Mat Sofi ninth after struggling to get a clear lap in the difficult conditions.
In qualifying two times were banked early before rain again began to fall, bringing out a succession of red flags for cars stranded on the circuit.
TanderSport driver Mathew Radisich and motorsport legend Brian Sampson, driving John Boothman's car this weekend, were amongst the several caught up in the difficult conditions.
Through it all came Winslow, who's best lap was enough to secure him pole position -- his first of the season -- for the second race. A last-ditch effort from Tander elevated her to the outside of the front row and bumped an impressive Stuart Kostera back to third.
Title contender Neil McFadyen managed the fifth-best time overall whilst Caratti could only score seventh place.
"That's the way the first session should have gone for us," Winslow enthused.
"I'm really pleased. The team has been great and the car is excellent even though we missed the test session on Wednesday. It's going to be interesting in race one but we're in with a good chance for race two and this is the best possible start."
Tander was equally pleased with her race one pole position -- her fourth of the season.
"Obviously you would always like to get two poles instead of one, but I'm pleased with today and it's clear that we've got plenty of pace," she said.
"It's so unpredictable with the rain and the weather conditions today that qualifying is really a case of being in the right place at the right time -- it's really difficult at times. I'm very happy with the car and looking forward to tomorrow."
Behind the two respective pole winners, there were some impressive performances from the duo entered by Melbourne -- based Scud Racing.
Stuart Kostera posted his season-best qualifying performances in the teams' Dallara F307 entry (third for race one, fourth for the second) whilst reigning Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Champion Tim Macrow was reunited with his original Formula 3 car and performed miracles -- qualifying a brilliant third for race one.
Macrow continued the trend of National-class cars outperforming expectations, Karl Reindler achieving the same feat at Mallala three weeks ago.
Macrow was the polesitter in both F3 National Class sessions, the competitive race within a race showing new depth this weekend.
Lee Farrell was second in class for race one, ahead of Justin Tate and Chris Gilmour whilst Tate turned the tables in the second session to start second for race two, behind Macrow but ahead of Gilmour and Farrell.
Pole positions' in the F3 Trophy Class were split between Jesse Wakeman and Queenslander Andrew Mill.