Tandersport has got a leg-up on the competition ahead of the 2009 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship, after conducting a successful test at Mallala Raceway near Adelaide.
New Zealander Ben Crighton was behind the wheel of the Mercedes-powered, #42 TanderSport Dallara F307 used to great success this season by Leanne Tander, who triumphed on five occasions and finished up on the podium an impressive nine times in 15 races.
In preparation for an attack on the drivers' championship crown next year, Crighton completed a full day's running at the 2.6km circuit to help the adaptation from the National Class Dallara F304 he utilised this season. The latest model Dallara features more aerodynamic grip than the older cars and has lapped substantially quicker this year, especially on the faster tracks.
Though running during an open practice day ensured plenty of traffic, the team worked though a solid checklist of tasks designed to bring the 26-year-old Kiwi up-to-speed – and by the end of the day left pleased with the results.
“Ben did a great job,” enthused TanderSport team manager Leanne Tander. “We were very pleased with what was achieved given the conditions and the slower traffic he had to work around.
“We didn't get as many clear laps as we would have liked, but Ben showed plenty of improvement and positive gains that we were looking for at the start of the day. I think he showed with the job he did that he is heading in the right direction to be a strong contender next season.”
“The F307 car just does everything better than the '04 [model],” Crighton affirmed. “It's just a big step-up, so it was great to get a taste of that well in advance of the new season. The day was made up of lots of short sessions of only eight or nine laps each, but I think we made some really good progress with what we set out to achieve.
“We came to Mallala because it's a hard track on brakes, and that was probably my biggest weakness this season. We definitely made progress, which was positive as braking is even more important in the '07 car.
“It was good to run at a track I hadn't been at before and one we may well be back to next year. I'm looking forward to getting our testing programme in place and getting back in the car!”
TanderSport are continuing preparations for the 2009 Australian F3 Championship and are currently talking to several drivers with regards to potentially filling a second seat alongside Crighton. The new campaign will kick off with the Clipsal 500 at Adelaide from 19-22 March.