F3 Championship – Round 4 Shannons Nationals Sydney Motorsport Park
July 01 – 02 was the 4th Round of Australian Formula 3 Championship with the Shannons Nationals at Sydney Motorsport Park, NSW.
DAY 1 – Friday Practice: was an early morning start to the day, 8:30am we were the first out on a cold track. It’s been 2yrs since I had been at SMSP but when I got out on track it was like being home, this is my home track and I won my Formula Ford Championship at this track. 1st practise we went well, we made changes for 2nd practise, and practise 3 we tweaked the changes. It was had to determine our real race pace on the old tyres, our 1st race on Saturday will give us an idea. Ben from Podium2Fitness was again with me for this weekend. He is a great fitness coach and he has been important in getting me both mentally and physically prepared for the races, I have nicknamed him Mr Miyagi from Karate Kid.
DAY 2 – Qualify and Race 1: QUALIFY: another early start with drivers weigh in at 8:40am and qualifying started at 9:15am. Qualified 2nd for race 1. Set up still isn’t quite there, our straight line speed is 5km down on my team mate’s car due to the engine. RACE 1; another 2nd place. The safety car came out straight after the start, after the restart I kept the pressure on Tim but 5 laps before the finish I made a mistake on turn 2, dipping my wheel in the dirt on the high speed corner. This dropped me back several tenths behind Tim so I opted to save my tyres for tomorrow. Our racing had finish by 1pm so we had plenty of time to looking to the set up. While the car was not bad, I felt that we could change the aero setup to compensate for being 5km down in the engine speed. Time will tell tomorrow if this was the right decision.
DAY 3 – Race 2 and Race 3: RACE 2: It was another early morning start again – race 2 at 8:30am in 6 degree temperature. It was a reverse grid and I was in P3. I had a great start moving up to second before the first turn with my main rival Tim still in 4th, I then made a move around the outside of pole sitter in turn 2 to take the lead. Tim caught up to me near the end of the race and we had a great race together. It was a terrific feeling to win the race. The team delivered a brilliant car for this race and I was happy to bring them and Mark Ward a win. Atlantic Oils Sales & Marketing guy and passionate motorsport fan, Roger Fernando arrived to meet myself and the Team, it was good to finally meet him as he has been doing a lot of work behind the scenes with Atlantic Oil’s sponsorship of me. It was great to show him what goes on behind the scenes with the preparation of the car and myself before we go out on track to race. It was a shame that Roger wasn’t able to see the earlier race win. RACE 3; from the highs to the lows of motorsport, we win as a team and we lose as a team. But I was gutted after the final race. I started from P2 and was in a good battle with Tim when after 4 laps the car started to go away from me. Unfortunately the decision of my Engineer to change the car in a bid to be faster in the last race, turned to be an epic fail! As the race went on the car became more and more undriveable. The tyres wouldn’t hold grip and the car was an unpredictable beast beneath me. It was a massive effort to keep the car on track and come home in 2nd place. I’m looking definitely forward to Round 5 at QLD Raceway on 29 – 31 July.
My sponsors who help make this happen – Atlantic Oil, Alan Dodd, Mark Ward McDonalds Toowoomba, Beko, Betta Home Living, Cooma Catering, Mitre 10 Cooma, Anytime Fitness Cooma and Hazeldean.