QUALIFYING TO BE CRITICAL TO TITLE HOPES AT SANDOWN THE CLOSEST rival to the two drivers fighting for the 2009 Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship says that a new qualifying format at the final round will make qualifying play a more...
QUALIFYING TO BE CRITICAL TO TITLE HOPES AT SANDOWN
THE CLOSEST rival to the two drivers fighting for the 2009 Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship says that a new qualifying format at the final round will make qualifying play a more critical role than ever in deciding the winner.
The grid for the 22-lap SuperPrix season finale' will be decided with a Formula 1-style knockout system, where the top six cars from Qualifying two will fight out for the Yorkshire investments pole award in their own 10-minute session, dubbed the ‘Quick Six'.
AmPro Tools / Astuti Motorsport driver Mathew Sofi says that the new knockout-style qualifying, coupled with the strongest field of the year, will only increase the pressure on the title contenders during the weekend.
"You are going to find at Sandown that we have one of the closest grids of the year, so qualifying will be absolutely critical," the Sydney driver - a career best third in the championship this year- said.
"Sandown is a track where there won't be much of a margin between a well-driven F304 (National Class) car and the championship class F307s, so coupled with the extra depth next weekend it wouldn't be impossible to see one of the main contenders missing out of the Quick Six.
"With the strongest and biggest grid of the year, qualifying up the front will be more important than ever. If one of the contenders slips up in qualifying and misses the Quick Six he could probably throw his championship chances away."
Sofi has been the closest opposition to current title-leader Tim Macrow and rival Joey Foster this season, and has been the only driver outside of that pair to score a Yorkshire Investments pole award this year.
Foster and Macrow have almost split the pole honours evenly in 2009, Macrow's seven pole positions just ahead of Foster's six. The driver with the most pole positions at the end of the season will take home a special $1000 bonus award from Yorkshire Investments, a Melbourne-based company who has been a great supporter of the championship.
Sofi, a winner at Eastern Creek in July, scored pole for race two at Oran Park in August and said that his team was heading into Sandown with nothing but a win on their minds.
"We are in the position where we can't improve our championship position and it would have to be a very bad weekend for us to lose it, so we're going out to win the biggest race of the year," he said.
"My plan is to get out in front and drive away while the other two battle amongst themselves for the title. I don't want to be involved in that - as long as I'm in front of them!
"We have arguably had one of the fastest cars for the last two or three rounds so we're pretty confident going into a track where no-one has any experience for the past four or five years."
Mat Sofi's sponsor AmPro Tools has also supported the series as a whole this season, offering up an $880.00, 122-piece Aluminium cased tool set to the AmPro Tools Mechanic of the year winner.
The award recipient will be the crew member who has been judged the most deserving of the award via their efforts, dedication, skills and commitment throughout in this years Championship.
The award will be presented at the 2009 Awards presentation evening, to be held in Melbourne on Sunday, November 29th.
-credit: aus f3