TanderSport owner/driver Leanne Tander rebounded from race one disappointment to win the prestigious John Bowe Trophy at the Country Club Tasmania F3 SuperPrix at Symmons Plains.
Tander was fighting for the lead in the opening 22-lap race when the engine in her #42 Dallara went off song, losing power and seemingly dropping onto three cylinders.
On lap 15, the engine expired altogether, taking with it her title hopes after a year-long come-from-behind effort that saw her clawing back nearly 28 points on the leaders.
A rapid engine change by the TanderSport crew enabled the F3 veteran to make the start of race two, the increasingly prestigious SuperPrix, and, despite now running with an older powerplant, Tander made the best start from pole and withheld concerted challenges from several drivers to win the longest race of the season by just 0.06secs.
“I believe my team to be the very best and they proved that again at the weekend by getting the engine changed between races and getting me back out for the SuperPrix.
“I got a great start and, because we had a car capable of winning in race one, I knew I could do it in race two, so I held on, pushed hard and got the win.
”After the disappointment of the engine failure in race one, winning the John Bowe trophy was a fantastic response. It is disappointing to have not been able to give this team a championship, but it was something out of my, and the teams', control. The job they have done has been amazing."
Tander ended the season second in the championship with 194 points, just four behind winner James Winslow, having guided the #42 car to five race wins and nine podium appearances.
”I think it is safe to say that [race one] wasn't the result we wanted, but it's part of this game," co-owner and team manager Garth Tander commented, "The car was fast enough to win in both races and we proved that after the engine swap.
“I am very proud of this team and the way that they kept fighting to the end.”
With Symmons Plain likely to be her final championship F3 round before moving her career onwards, Tander will leave the category with seven wins and 22 podiums from 51 starts.
”We have come from 29 points behind in this championship and worked so hard to recover," she reflected, "I have had a great year and all thanks has to go to the team and those that have supported me.”