F3

AUS: Series Sandown race 3 report

BEN BARKER WINS FORMULA 3 AUSTRALIAN DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP BY ONE POINT BEN BARKER has won the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship for the CAMS Gold Star by the smallest imaginable margin - five one hundredths of a second. In an...

BEN BARKER WINS FORMULA 3 AUSTRALIAN DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP BY ONE POINT

BEN BARKER has won the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship for the CAMS Gold Star by the smallest imaginable margin - five one hundredths of a second.

In an incredible 15-lap finale at Melbourne's Sandown Raceway today, the championship was decided by 19-year-old British driver Barker taking the fastest lap and the one, solitary bonus point that went with it.

The figure, 69.6563 seconds, will forever remain with Barker as his fastest lap set on lap 14 edged out teammate and rival Mitch Evans' best by 0.0502s in what would ultimately be the deciding factor in the championship.

To make matters even more dramatic, Evans' set his fastest lap on the final lap of the race - leaving the title in limbo until both had crossed the line.

Barker's title is the third in three years for the dominating Adelaide outfit, Team BRM, and the third consecutive title for British-born drivers.

Barker scored 220 points to Evan's 219, with Tom Tweedie a still excellent third with 208.

It is the closest top three in Australian Formula 3 history and the smallest winning margin in series history.

Such was the tension today that Barker wasn't informed of his win until well into the cool-down lap following the race - won by Tim Macrow.

"The team came on the radio and said 'Ben barker...' and then nothing! It was like being on a game show!" he grinned.

"I was screaming at them to tell me, and then (engineer) Craig Rundle came over and said 'Ben Barker, you are the champion'.

I couldn't believe it - It was a huge relief. I didn't know I had won and didn't know who had fastest lap so it was an amazing feeling to know that I had done it.

"It was a day of completely mixed emotions because at one stage I thought it was all over," said Barker.

"After the race two crash I thought it was all over but in a way someone else's unfortunate accident worked to us, because race two was cancelled and that worked so well for us. Bad for them, good for us so there was a bit of luck.

"I started from fourth in the finale' and the boys had done such a great job to get the car done - and it was awesome. I put my head down and in the end it was a very tough race.

"Mitch put on some really good defending moves on and then Tweedie used his straight line speed to drive past and that made things more interesting."

Barker attributed a series of all-or-nothing laps towards the end of the race in getting the championship over the line.

"I dropped back, put my head down and went for it," he explained.

"I left a car length gap and went for it and it paid off, just. It's been a remarkable season and the completion between Mitch, Tom and I has been great. We have pushed each other to new levels and I think we are all better for it.

"I couldn't have done it without the team and the support from CARS Europe and Race Fit. "This is the best feeling."

Tim Macrow won the race whilst a mighty war waged for second through fourth between the three title contenders. Evans was under fire from Barker early, before Tom Tweedie squeezed his way through to the podium - relegating Barker to fourth - to make the title calculations even more difficult.

Behind the top four in today's only point-scoring race (following the cancellation of race two), Chris Gilmour was a solid fifth, Josh Burdon sixth and Queensland youngster Ben Gersekowski seventh. Bryce Moore, Zhang Shan Qi and Roman Krumins completed the top ten.

-source: formula3.com.au

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Series F3
Drivers Tim Macrow , Chris Gilmour , Tom Tweedie , Shan Qi Zhang , Mitch Evans , Josh Burdon , Ben Barker