BACK-TO-BACK BEN BARKER JUMPS TO POINTS LEAD BRITISH DRIVER Ben Barker took a couple of rounds to get into the swing of driving a Formula 3 wings and slicks racer, but lately things sure have clicked. The Team BRM driver has today rocketed to...
BACK-TO-BACK BEN BARKER JUMPS TO POINTS LEAD
BRITISH DRIVER Ben Barker took a couple of rounds to get into the swing of driving a Formula 3 wings and slicks racer, but lately things sure have clicked.
The Team BRM driver has today rocketed to the top of the Formula 3 Australian Drivers' Championship standings after winning an action-packed feature race today at Morgan Park Raceway.
In the midst of a season that gets more and more competitive, Barker is the third different feature race winner from five rounds this year - with the top three drivers now separated by just four points with two rounds to go.
Barker won the first heat race yesterday (Saturday), finished second to Tom Tweedie in the second and led all the way from pole in the feature, though under intense pressure from Mitch Evans all the way.
Barker noted after his storming win that the title race was well and truly alive.
"It's on from here," he said.
"It took me a few rounds to get up to speed driving a Formula 3 Car, but since Mallala it's been brilliant. The car is great and I'm feeling comfortable. It's all gelling really well.
"It's been great to keep the ball rolling from Mallala but the battle really begins here. At Eastern Creek it's really going to be 'on'".
Barker said the pressure was mounting, with both team-mate Evans and Tweedie proving this weekend that it's a three-horse race for the Gold Star.
"Obviously leading the championship has been the aim all along but now the pressure only gets more intense, just as it was today when Mitch was chasing me down," He said.
"That pressure will only get more and more intense so managing that will be a big part of the last two rounds. I can't wait."
Mitch Evans' second place was the culmination of a storming comeback after a disappointing black-flag for rolling at the start yesterday.
Starting today's sprint race in fifth, Evans finished third before moving to second in the feature.
"It's been a good comeback from yesterday. We don't want to finish second but after starting the sprint race in fifth it's not a bad result," Evans said.
"I was catching Ben (during the feature) and the car came on later in the race but I couldn't get close enough to try a pass."
Evans - who leaves Morgan Park holding the outright lap record (1:09.4745) was able to take advantage of some misfortune from Tom Tweedie after the former point's leader's Team Tom Dallara failed to fire at the beginning of the formation lap.
The Sydneysider was forced to start from the rear of the field, resulting in an action packed charge through the pack.
At 220km/hr Tweedie and Team BRM with PTRS driver Zhang Shan Qi fought a side-by side battle through the fastest section of the new Morgan Park circuit, banging wheels and rubbing bodywork in an aggressive fight.
The aggressive racing and subsequent contact between the pair will be investigated by series stewards at Eastern Creek next month.
Tweedie then set out after Gilmour and the pair ran side by side for three turns, before Tweedie had a half-spin whilst trying to take the inside line into turn six.
Gilmour's third place was his second podium of the weekend and his best F3 overall result since 2006, whilst Zhang elevated himself to fourth in the standings heading into the final two rounds.
Behind all the drama and excitement, Josh Hunt finished a quiet sixth, whilst Ben Gersekowski rebounded from a crash yesterday - and a non-start in the second sprint today - to finish seventh and set competitive times in the process.
The weekend long battle between Toowoomba's Jimmy Mann and Roman Krumins was decided in the favour of Mann, who took his Jon Mills-owned F301 to eighth today.
The Formula 3 Australian Drivers' championship for the CAMS Gold Star will go down to the wire, with the penultimate round to be held at Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway on September 11-12.