LOCAL VARNEY'S LATE MINUTE F3 CALL UP BRINGING RESULTS QUEENSLANDER Blake Varney took delivery of a Formula 3 car Thursday afternoon and thought that was the end of his F3 experience, at least for this year. The 23-year-old had expected to...
LOCAL VARNEY'S LATE MINUTE F3 CALL UP BRINGING RESULTS
QUEENSLANDER Blake Varney took delivery of a Formula 3 car Thursday afternoon and thought that was the end of his F3 experience, at least for this year.
The 23-year-old had expected to do some testing and become accustomed to his ex-Team BRM Dallara F304 before potentially joining the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship in 2010.
That was until fellow Queenslander Kevin Miller withdrew from driving duties of his Scarborough Holiday Parks #96 2001 Dallara at the last moment leaving the seat open - and it was Varney who answered the call and, as of 7PM Thursday night, found himself making his F3 debut this weekend.
As a result his first tentative laps in practice one today were his first ever behind the wheel of a wings and slicks racer after several strong seasons in state and national-level Formula Ford.
Though initially hesitant, a strong run in opening practice calmed his nerves somewhat; Varney finishing practice one 12th and Practice two in 10th, 2.5 seconds from the quick time but only 1.5 from the quickest National Class car, the #19 Battery World Dallara of Tom Tweedie.
Not bad for his first ever laps in Australia's fastest category.
"I got the call at 4PM last night and here we are, practicing this morning and making my debut in a Formula 3 car with no preparation whatsoever!" Varney said.
"I was initially very hesitant because I'd never driven a Wings and Slicks car before. I had initially planned to do some practice and testing before racing next year in my new car so this is like jumping into the deep end - but it's been really good so far.
"The cars are incredible to drive. Very different to the Formula Ford and it took a few laps to get used to the throttle applications because these things go quite a bit quicker! I'm a bit fortunate because this (301) car has a H-pattern gearbox so that's one similarity - but things like the Clutch are so different and take getting used to.
"It's been hugely enjoyable so far but there's a lot to learn. My pace is getting better which is great."
Today's two 20-minute practice sessions were mainly uneventful, save for a few spins and one off into the turn one sand as drivers reacclimatized themselves to the 2.8km, six turn QR layout.
Joey Foster topped practice two ahead of Ben Crighton and Tim Macrow but it was the battle of the National Class cars that is shaping up to be particularly intense.
Local Chris Gilmour paced the F304 runners on two occasions today but in practice two Gilmour, class leader Tom Tweedie were evenly matched and only trailed by fractions by 16-year-old Indonesian driver Rio Haryanto.
Fellow F3 rookie, South Aussie Roger I'Anson, was also impressive today on his F3 debut as the newcomers shined under the bright sunshine.
This weekend's sixth round of the Formula 3 Australian Driver's Championship is being contested as part of the QueenslandHouseandLand.com V8 Supercar round at Queensland Raceway, outside of Ipswich.
Two, 20-minute qualifying sessions will be held tomorrow to set the grid for the pair of 12-lap races to be contested on Sunday. Teams will then pack up and head south to round seven, the last blast at Sydney's Oran Park Raceway.
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