Leanne Tander has won two of three races at the fourth race meeting of the 2014 CAMS Australian Formula 1000 championship at Barbagallo Raceway, Perth.
Tander, who visited Perth for the event as an invitation driver for Fastlane Racing, set a new Formula 1000 track lap record on her way to victory in Race 1.
Adam Proctor followed Tander to the flag in Races 1 and 3, but was victorious in Race 2.
Ben Riley suffered a gearbox failure following the first race and was forced to sit out the remainder of the event, which allowed Stewart Burns to jump into the championship lead and and brought Bruce Allen closer to the title leaders heading into the final race meeting of the year.
Tander was quickest in the morning qualifying session, and set a new series lap record on her way to pole, circulating the track in 56.053s.
Adam Proctor was second fastest, more than 1.5 seconds behind.
Series leader Ben Riley was third, the quickest qualifier of the West Australian drivers, 0.229s behind Proctor.
Bruce Allen beat Stewart Burns to fourth on the grid, with Daniel Gate ahead of Jez Hammond in seventh, whose season-long mechanical gremlins continued in the session.
Six of the seven qualifiers lined up on the grid for the day’s first race.
Jez Hammond was forced to abandon the race due to the problems in qualifying.
Despite getting a good start, Proctor slotted behind Tander as the field headed toward the Turn 1.
Fourth-place Allen benefitted from a good start to overtake Riley before the first corner.
The order remained unchanged until the final corner of the opening lap when Riley re-took third place from Allen under braking.
Daniel Gate, whose car had been uncompetitive all weekend, quickly fell back.
The order remained unchanged until lap six when Gate was forced to retire.
The cars gradually spread out as they headed toward the end of the eighth and final lap.
Tander crossed the line in the lead, followed by Proctor, Riley, Allen, and Burns.
The race leader would break the F1000 track record a second time on the final lap of Race 1, setting a 55.847s lap time.
After taking the chequered flag, Riley was forced to stop at the first corner with a differential failure.
The issue would end the his race meeting.
Tander got off the line well again and lead cleanly through Turn 1.
With another good start Allen, who took third on the grid due to Riley’s absence, was able to challenge Proctor for position through the first corner.
But over-eager application of the throttle put Allen into a self-inflicted spin on the exit of the turn.
He would return to the track safely, in last place.
Another mechanical issue put Hammond into the gravel at Turn 6 on the opening lap, bringing out the Safety Car and eventually a red flag as marshals worked to rescue the beached car from the gravel.
With Hammond’s car safely out of the way, the race was resumed on the fourth lap.
At the rolling restart the drivers were in a four-lap sprint to the finish, and Proctor wasted no time in showing his hand.
He and Tander duelled for the entire restart lap, eventually racing side-by-side heading into the final corner, with Proctor emerging onto the main straight in the lead for the first time all weekend.
But Tander wasn’t beaten yet and dived up Proctor’s inside into Turn 1, re-taking the race lead.
Tander stayed ahead until Proctor repeated his move from the previous lap and took back the lead at the final corner.
At the same time a battle was warming behind them as the recovering Bruce Allen closed in on third-place Burns.
The gap between the West Australian pair would drop again on the next, penultimate, lap.
But the order at the front remained unchanged for the final tour, with Proctor crossing the line just under one second ahead of Tander.
A mechanical issue on Burns’ car offered Allen an easy third place at the end of the race, who finished over seven seconds behind the leading pair.
Burns crossed the line two seconds later.
Speaking of his early-race spin, Allen blamed inexperience for the error.
“I made a great start and squeezed [Leanne] bit going to the inside,” he said.
“I gave her a bit of room and ran wide going through the turn and she dropped back a bit. I just went spun trying to pick up the throttle.
[Leanne] said I was probably just on the marbles a bit, which lit the car up and I was gone. “
At the start of the final race Tander held the lead going into the first corner.
Burns profited from a good start and jumped ahead of Allen heading to Turn 1.
But he would not hold the position for long, with Allen attacking at the final corner on the second lap to take back third place.
At the front the order remained unchanged as Tander and Proctor circulated outside of overtaking range.
Burns and Allen continued to lap closely until the former spun on lap seven, leaving Allen to finish his race unchallenged.
After 10 laps Tander took victory ahead of Proctor, Allen and Burns.
Tander said post-race she’d enjoyed her first taste of F1000.
“It’s quite different to anything I’ve driven before but definitely a lot of fun,” Tander said.
“There’s been a few little niggles that we’ve worked through over the course of the weekend, but getting pole, two wins and a lap record is a pretty good weekend,
“I think it’s a great category.
“They’re not Formula 3s but they’ve definitely got all the aero effects you’d get in that category.”
Proctor, who finished the meeting with 61 points to Tander’s 75, said it’d had been a successful day for himself and the Stohr brand.
“It’s been good to get a taste of what it’s like over here,” he said.
“I don’t think Formula 4 has got a hope in hell of competing against a class like this. These cars will actually be quicker than F4 and they’re not going to cost more than $40,000 to run, let alone more than $100,000.”
WA’s most successful driver of the meeting, Allen, said he was glad to be back in the action after mid-year mechanical issues.
“We’ve just got to drive it now, learn to drive it and get comfortable in the car,” he said.
“I’m not quite comfortable with the new HANS, we need to change the seat, but apart from that the car was fine.
It was probably just the driver who was a bit rusty.”
At the end of the penultimate round of the championship Stewart Burns has taken the lead of the table with 169 points, while Ben Riley sits one point behind. With 75 still up for grabs in the final meeting in September, the championship remains possible for both drivers.
Bruce Allen has scored 107 points ahead of visiting drivers Leanne Tander’s 70 and Adam Proctor’s 65.
Daniel Gate has scored 54 points, while Jez Hammond recorded his first race finish of 2014 in this meeting’s final race.
Hammond scored 17 points.
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