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LEANNE TANDER DELIVERS SONIC THIRD TITLE FOR THE YEAR

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 lose.

“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 maneuvers.

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 Pasquale.

“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 too.”

Ends release…