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LEANNE TANDER DELIVERS SONIC THIRD TITLE FOR THE
Leanne Tander created history over the weekend
by becoming the first lady racer in Australian
circuit racing history to win a national title,
and in doing so netted Sonic Motor Racing
Services its third major victory this year.
Tander’s historic Australian Formula Ford Title
win has won nation-wide acclaim from a wide
variety of media and fellow racers alike.
Not to mention her team boss.
“This is one of the most, meaningful titles
we’ve won, says hard nosed Sonic Motor Racing
Services principal Michael Ritter, “I’m thrilled
for Leanne that she can achieve this milestone
result. It’s a fitting tribute to her
commitment, her discipline, skill and race
maturity that she’s a national champion.”
Tander had to work hard to wrap up the title at
Philip Island GP Circuit on Sunday.
“Qualifying was tricky,” Ritter, explains, “it
took a lot of sensibility to get the job done.
We went out late looking for clear track but it
started drizzling in turn two. She did the best
she could but we ended up eighth. That meant it
was going to be a challenge in Race One.”
The 36-year-old mother of two moved quickly from
the fourth row to the lead inside six laps but
got swamped on the final lap to eventually claim
fifth when the chequers flew.
“Race Two was critical,” Ritter, recalls, “it
needed a measured drive and that’s what she gave
us. We came away with second place and that set
us up for our run home in the last race.”
Knowing that all she had to do was run
thirteenth or better the title was Leanne’s to
“The only pressure was what I put on myself all
year anyway,” explains Tander, “so the final
race was an extension of that. Never at any
point did Michael (Ritter) place any unnecessary
pressure on me. He brought out the best in me by
encouraging me to be my best and to bring that
out in myself and in the racecar.”
Leanne would finish third and seal the deal,
running right behind the lead duo and not
needing to chance her hand on any risky
In taking the title she delivered the eighth
Sonic Australian Formula Ford title win in 15
years for the iconic Victorian race operations,
the first however since 2013 with Anton De
“To be honest I looked at the board and could
see it’d been a few years since they had a win,”
she laughs, “so it was time to get my name on
that list at Sonic.”
The list of Sonic Formula Ford Champions since
2001 leads like a veritable who’s who.
2001 Will Davison
2002 Jamie Whincup
2005 David Reynolds
2007 Tim Blanchard
2009 Nick Percat
2011 Cam Waters
2013 Anton De Pasquale
2016 Leanne Tander
For Leanne personally it was a just reward for
twenty two years of chasing motorsport glory.
In 2000 she was third in the Australian Formula
Ford Championship, 2004 she was third in the
Australian Production Car Championship and in
2007 and 2008 she was runner up in the
Australian F3 Championship.
No-one can argue she’d done the hard yards.
The Formula Ford victory over the weekend added
to the Victorian State FF Championship for
promising youngster Max Vidau and the Porsche
GT3 Cup Challenge for Hamish Hardeman.
“It’s been a solid year,” Ritter concedes, “I’m
really proud of our drivers and our team for
their efforts and their success. We’re already
working on our 2017 program but it’s important
to reflect on what we’ve achieved this year