TOM TWEEDIE SCORES DEBUT F3 PODIUM AT CLIPSAL 500 AFTER QUALIFING WAS COMPLETE, plenty of people in the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship pit area were pretty sure that Tom Tweedie would be on the podium sooner, rather than later. Tom...
TOM TWEEDIE SCORES DEBUT F3 PODIUM AT CLIPSAL 500
AFTER QUALIFING WAS COMPLETE, plenty of people in the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship pit area were pretty sure that Tom Tweedie would be on the podium sooner, rather than later.
Tom had put his car inside the top four on a competitive grid during the second qualifying session - a sure sign that he would be a frontrunner this year.
They just didn't expect it to be in his first race.
That's what happened at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide at the weekend as Tom Tweedie raced to third outright in the very first race of his Formula 3 career, on a track he'd never seen before and in his first competitive race start in Australia's fastest category.
And it happened on the day the team confirmed that new sponsor Battery World would adorn the side pods of his #19 Dallara - Renault F3 car.
Tom, 20, backed up the result with a fifth-placed outright finish in race two and left the weekend with two wins in the F3 National Class for 2004-model cars. It was quite a debut for a driver with just a few days of pre-season practice under his belt before the trip to the demanding, concrete-lined 3.22km street circuit in Adelaide.
As a result Tweedie now sits comfortably atop the National Class standings and joins an elite group of drivers to have finished on the podium in a Gold Star race.
"It's an excellent start to my Formula 3 career," Tweedie said.
"We could not have expected anything more than this - in fact we didn't come here with any real expectations at all. It was my first time at Clipsal, first time racing an F3 car and we've come out of it with a real positive.
"I have to thank Battery World who has supported us this weekend - it's great to have them on board. I also have to thank the Team Tom supporters, who have all been fantastic. The team has also been great and have prepared a very good car so hats off to them."
Tweedie, who hails from Hunters Hill in Sydney, said that the results exceeded what little expectations he had set out prior to the weekend.
"I was hoping to mix it with the 07's (Championship Class cars) but I wasn't sure - I didn't know what to expect," He grinned. "These cars are obviously very different to the Formula Fords I've been driving before so it's really pleasing."
Tom held off Championship Class driver Mat Sofi during a 12-lap dice in race one to score his debut podium after a fantastic start. In race two he fought an early dice with class rival Chris Gilmour before pulling away to win his class by almost ten seconds.
The next round of the championship will be held a bit closer to home - Goulburn's Wakefield Park the location for round two, to be held between April 24 - 26.
Says Tom: "From here on in I've been to most of the tracks so that will make things a lot easier. I can't wait for round two."