F3 CHAMPIONSHIP – ROUND 5 SHANNONS NATIONALS QUEENSLAND RACEWAY
July 29 – 31 was the 5th Round of Australian Formula 3 Championship with the Shannons Nationals at Ipswich, QLD.
DAY 1 – Friday Practice: Sunny Queensland was a great change from the cold weather racing down south. Practice 1 was not too bad, using the tyres from the last meeting Sydney meant times wouldn’t be great. By the end of the session the tyres were shot and had started to delaminate. There seems to be a wide spread problem with these Kumhos, as they seem to be producing problems each meeting. For practice 2 we changed to a set of tyres that had less use, the session went well and I was happy with the progress we made. We made a few changes for the final session, practice 3 was cut short by a red flag. A few of the changes didn’t work well and we reset them, as there wasn’t the full session to see the gearing changes true potential we would have to wait for qualifying; but initial indications seem good and I was happy with them
DAY 2 – Qualify and Race 1: QUALIFY: Qualified 2nd for race 1 & 3. It was a Gilmour McDonald Racing Team front row. Set up still isn’t quite there, our straight line speed is 5km just isn’t there. RACE 1; this was an absolute disaster! I had to much wheel spin from off the start, which gave me an average get away off the line. I slotted into second behind my team mate, unfortunately my championship rival Tim had a brain failure and came storming in nearly running Legge off the track and turned straight in to me. We collided, he damaged the front left suspension of my car, I managed to limp around the track back to the pit lane were Errol, Calum, Dad and some other people helped to fix the front wishbone with an allen-key, cable-ties & duct tape, hoping that we would be able to get some points; but as luck would have it we missed out but 2 laps to get points. Tim was given a reprimand for causing the accident.
DAY 3 – Race 2 and Race 3: RACE 2; another sunny Queensland day, putting yesterday’s disaster behind, I started from second last because of the DNF. Got a good start off the line even though the car in front of me stalled and I had to take evasive action. Again it was a fight with Macrow and me, I managed to get to ahead of him and then went to chase down the front runners. The car had great pace and I was able to overtake both of them for the lead. It was great to take the win. RACE 3; I started from P2, after a less than great start from wheel spin, I dropped back to 3rd position. Aero wash was noticeably significant and having tyres that were not happy made overtaking more challenging compared to earlier in the day, I would come up behind the other car and it would cause my car lose grip and move about; I finally managed to make a move on turn 6 for second place and set off after the leader. There wasn’t enough laps to get past him and I had to settle for 2nd place. In all we manage to turn around a horrid start to the weekend into a positive, the teams hard work to repair the car and able to race on Sunday was an awesome effort. I am happy to reward the team with a win and a second, I would have preferred 3 wins. There is now 29 points between Macrow and me in the Championship. Looking forward to Round 6 at Philip Island on 9 – 11 September.
My sponsors who help make this happen – Atlantic Oil, Alan Dodd, Mark Ward McDonalds Toowoomba, Beko, Betta Home Living, Cooma Catering, Mitre 10 Cooma, Cooma Subway, Anytime Fitness Cooma and Hazeldean.