TOUGH, YET PROMISING NZ DEBUT FOR LEANNE


TANDERSPORT MEDIA RELEASE : FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 19TH FEBRUARY, 2006


TOUGH, YET ULTIMATELY PROMISING NEW ZEALAND RACING DEBUT FOR LEANNE TANDER


Leanne Tander made quite an impact on the New Zealand-based Toyota Racing Series in her international racing debut at Manfeild Raceway last weekend.

Tander, currently fourth in the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship after one round, drove for the European Techniques team at the North Island circuit and impressed by adapting quickly to the new circuit and the smaller Kiwi cars that require a vastly different driving style to her usual Holden-powered Formula 3 Dallara.

The round at Manfeild was the fifth championship round for the New Zealand series that runs through the Southern Hemisphere Summer.

In her first race in a car outside of Australian shores, Leanne finished 12th for the round and seventh in the final race after a weekend that saw her progressively work her way through a competitive field.

Friday practice showed a glimpse of her potential, Leanne working with her Formula 3 engineer to set the car up to her liking – the results of 13th, 8th and then fifth in the final practice showing that progress had been made.

With the one-make nature of the series tending to produce extremely close qualifying sessions, Tander qualified in 11th place less than eight-tenths away from the pole position benchmark.

Race one had Leanne on track for a top-ten finish, before an off at the final corner left her car beached in the sand trap and out of the race.

With the unique series format of determining the second race grid based on the fastest laps of the first 12-lap encounter, Leanne started race two in ninth place, giving her a good opportunity to move her way further forward through the field.

She finished 8th – but her 12th fastest race lap meant that the Fleetcare-supported driver would start from the sixth row for the 20-lap finale’ held later in the afternoon.

With an action packed start, the final race got underway with Leanne working her way into the top ten before a massive crash between her team-mate Barton Mawer and fellow female driver Christina Orr saw the race red flagged.

In a charge somewhat akin to her storming race through the field in the opening round of the Formula 3 championship, Tander passed a number of cars and set the sixth-fastest lap of the race to end a challenging weekend with a seventh-place finish, and inside the top twelve for the round overall.

“I was faster than the two cars in front of me,” Tander said of the final race. 

”I caught them once or twice but when I had a go at passing that didn’t pay off, I would lose speed and then the car behind would have a go at me - so I would have to spend a lap defending until I got away again and then try and catch the guys in front again. 

”It was a tough weekend – there was a lot to learn and the racing was competitive, so after the tough start to come away with a top eight finish is much better than nothing.

“However I really enjoyed the racing and the series. There are a few more rounds to go and the team is already talking about perhaps bringing me over for some more racing, at events that doesn’t clash with my Australian calendar.

”I’d really look forward to going back.” She said.

The opportunity to race in New Zealand for the first time meant that Leanne had a good look at the Kiwi Series, giving her a chance to assess the differences between New Zealand and Australia’s top Open Wheel cars.

”The (New Zealand) series provide drivers with a lot of race craft because the cars are so close – because they are all equal,” she explained.

“The series is very professionally run and it was great to be a part of it.

“The cars are a lot of fun to drive, but thanks to my experience in Australia recently I still prefer the Formula 3 cars,” Leanne added.

“The Formula 3 philosophy of having exactly the same cars that they run in Europe, England and Japan would allow me to jump into one of those series’ and be competitive from the outset.

“The F3 cars are also more physically demanding and because there are more adjustments available to you they enable you to gain a better understanding of how to balance the car between mechanical and aerodynamic grip.” She said.

TanderSport and Leanne Tander thank the ongoing support of their sponsors Fleetcare, HSV, Holden, Greenwood & Freehills, Valvoline, Web105.com.au and My105.com

For more information about Leanne Tander, Fleetcare TanderSport or the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship, visit
www.leannetander.com, www.tandersport.com or www.formula3.com.au.

ENDS


Past Articles
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Spearheading a new race program of her own, Leanne Tander is set to step back into V8 Supercar racing for this weekend’s V8 Supercar Fujitsu Series at Victoria’s Winton Raceway on 1-3 May with key support from Wilson Security Racing (WSR).
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