Leanne Tander creates history

Published: 08 May 2007

Pictured: HSV.

Leanne Tander races in close quarters today at Phillip Island en route to her maiden Formula 3 / ADC race win.

Tander won race two at Phillip Island in her Fleetcare TanderSport Dallara.

Leanne Tander has today created Australian Motorsport history by becoming the first female driver to win a race in the 51-year history of the Australian Drivers Championship for the CAMS Gold Star – the series recognized as the premier title for Open Wheel racers in Australia.

Leanne won the second of two races in this weekend’s third event of the 2007 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship today at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit in Victoria after a stunning drive in her #42 Fleetcare TanderSport Dallara F304 Spiess-Opel Formula 3 car.

Her win today – It is believed to be the first ever major F3 race won by a Female driver in the long worldwide history of the category - joins her past history making successes in V8 Supercar, Australian Production Car and Formula Ford competition.

It was Leanne’s first win since joining Australia’s premier Open Wheel championship in the middle of the 2005 racing season, and since forming their professional TanderSport operation with husband Garth at the end of the same year.

Leanne started from the front row of today’s second race and followed race one winner James Winslow, from Great Britain, for the first two laps before executing a daring pass for the lead around the outside of turn one, at speeds approaching 260kph.

Tander was never headed for the remaining 12 laps of 14-lap race, running away to a 3.8 second win over Winslow and Italian driver Marco Mapelli.

The result lifted her to third in the championship with 69 points, trailing the series leader Tim Macrow by just 11 with five rounds – 10 races – remaining in the season.

The win was a remarkable comeback after a tough opening race where Leanne struggled from second on the grid and was shuffled back to seventh place after the first lap.

She charged forward after the slow start, however, finishing race one 5th.

After many setbacks and close finishes, Leanne was today relieved to have her maiden Formula 3 win under her belt, as well as vaulting herself right back into the middle of a thrilling battle for this year’s championship.

”The last three laps were probably just about the slowest laps I’ve driven around here all weekend but there was no way I was going to make a mistake and spear off!” she said.

”Closing the gap to the championship leaders was my aim for the weekend and I’m pleased to have pulled back a chunk of time on the two leaders. I missed an opportunity in race one when I stuffed up the start but I’m very happy and I think that with five rounds to go I think I’m in reach.

“We have proved now that we can progress throughout the race meeting after a couple of rounds where we I was fast on Friday and then went backwards afterwards. I’ve proved to myself that I can be fast on Friday, Saturday and win on Sunday, which gives a lot of confidence.”

Leanne said today that she was honoured to become part of a long list of extremely successful drivers that have won races in the Australian Drivers Championship.

“I’m surprised it hasn’t happened sooner and a bit of a shame it’s taken this long!” she said this afternoon.

”Some great drivers have won races in the past in this championship and It’s fantastic to join that list. It’s fantastic enough to have finally won a Formula 3 race so to be part of the history of the Gold Star is something special.

”It’s nice to have achieved what I have so far – I hope this is the first of many wins that can lead me to winning the Gold Star at the end of the year – that would be the best thing.” She said.

The Australian Drivers Championship has, for 50 years, been awarded by the Confederation of Australian Motorsport (CAMS) to Australia’s champion driver in the ‘top’ Open Wheel class in the country.

Previous race – and championship – winners include a who’s who of Australian and New Zealand Motorsport names, including Lex Davison, Bib Stillwell, Kevin Bartlett, Leo Geoghegan, Alfredo Costanzo, John Bowe, David Brabham, Mark Skaife, Paul Stokell and, more recently, Jason Bright, Scott Dixon, Simon Wills, Rick Kelly and Will Power.

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