McFADYEN DOES THE POLE DOUBLE AT EASTERN CREEK
As if it wasn't enough to do it once, Neil McFadyen today placed his Team BRM Dallara on pole position for both of tomorrow's races at Sydney's Eastern Creek in front of the largest and most competitive Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship field seen in Australia.
In some of the best qualifying action witnessed all season, McFadyen topped both of today's 20-minute shootouts by setting his quick times early in the piece relative to his contenders, before sitting and waiting out the remainder of the session in a car that is looking seriously quick for tomorrow's two races: both to be run as the major support act to the A1 Grand Prix of Nations Australian event.
His session-one best of 1m24.1716 was just two-tenths of a second faster than team mate Ian Dyk, who gave the Adelaide based Team BRM their first qualifying 1-2 for the season.
McFadyen topped championship contender Michael Trimble's Renault Powered Dallara from Astuti Racing in second qualifying, the gap a miniscule .14 of a second. Incredibly, McFadyen completed just 16 laps between the two sessions compared to well over 20 for a number of his closest contenders.
"I'm stoked to be on pole for both of tomorrow's races," enthused McFadyen this afternoon after scoring the first two poles of his short Formula 3 career, that spans a total of two races held at Phillip Island this year.
"I was very keen to do this round because I felt we made some great progress at Phillip Island, when I drove the other car. It's shown this weekend because we have been on the money from the word go.
"The car is very good to drive and is handling really well. It's all looking good for tomorrow, so hopefully we can get in front and score some race wins." He said.
Michael Trimble, who needs an incredibly strong weekend at the 3.9km Sydney track to remain in championship contention for the Gold Star Award, was third in Qualifying one -- that effort coupled with his front row start for the second race tomorrow giving him a good shot at taking the all important race wins that he needs to keep the title fight alive.
The man he is fighting with -- Insight F3's Aaron Caratti -- had a relatively quiet day at the Eastern Creek office, seemingly not quite having that 'little bit extra' he has shown so far this season en route to a stunning six consecutive pole positions for the last six races.
Fourth and third place efforts respectively, however, were nothing to be sneezed at - especially when in both sessions the West Australian Champion-elect was less than three tenths of a second from pole position.
Chris Alajajian, who has targeted second place in the championship as his goal for the season's remaining two rounds, started that campaign well today by scoring fifth on the grid for both of tomorrow's races in a consistent effort from the Protecnica operation.
His performance's mirrored those of second Insight F3 driver Nathan Caratti, who in just his second ever Formula 3 start placed the #24 Dallara into a pair of seventh place grid positions for the racing tomorrow.
Leanne Tander, another driver in just her second round of Formula 3 competition, had a consistent day in her Piccola Scuderia F301, finding the limits of adhesion at times before posting solid ninth and eighth place results in the two sessions respectively.
And after a sparking performance in practice yesterday, Tander was just 1.2 seconds from the pole in the second session this afternoon indicating a strong performance should be forthcoming this weekend.
It wasn't all strong results and promising performances for some today, however, the second session red flagged after Kumho Tyres Australian Trophy Class contender Bill Maddocks made contact with the turn one wall at high speed six minutes into the session.
After touching the verge of the circuit, the Scud Racing Dallara F396 slid across the damp grass at speed before slamming into the concrete wall -- close to 50 meters from the edge of the circuit.
Despite causing significant damage to his car, the 2003 Trophy Class co-champion was uninjured in the heavy impact, however the car was set to be retired for the weekend due to the force of the impact.
Graeme Holmes continued his strong form in the Trophy class by notching fastest class time in each session today, Rod Anderson and Mike Beeley filling the remainder of the top three positions for both races tomorrow.
Lauren Gray continued her steady improvement in the second of the Scud racing entries, slicing a further two seconds off her previous best lap to fall within a few tenths of a majority of the Trophy class field.
With the winner of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship receiving a test drive with A1 Team Australia at the conclusion of this years championship, Aaron Caratti will be working hard to ensure he closes out his first ever Gold Star title in front of the A1 teams -- including Formula 3 Australia Patron Alan Jones -- tomorrow.
He need only win one race -- or score a pair of fourth place finishes -- to take the title with a round to spare. <pre> Top Ten Qualifying 1 1. Neil McFadyen Team BRM Dallara F304 Speiss Opel 2. Ian Dyk Team BRM Dallara F304 Speiss Opel 3. Michael Trimble Astuti Motorsport Dallara F304 Renault 4. Aaron Caratti Insight F3 Dallara F304 Renault 5. Chris Alajajian Protecnica Racing Dallara F304 Renault 6. Tim Macrow Tim Macrow Racing Dallara F301 Speiss Opel 7. Nathan Caratti Insight F3 Dallara F304 Renault 8. Chris Gilmour Cooltemp Racing Dallara F304 Speiss Opel 9. Leanne Tander Piccola Scuderia Corse Dallara F301 Fiat 10. Michael Caruso Piccola Scuderia Corse Dallara F301 Fiat
Top Ten Qualifying 2 1. Neil McFadyen Team BRM Dallara F304 Speiss Opel 2. Michael Trimble Astuti Motorsport Dallara F304 Renault 3. Aaron Caratti Insight F3 Dallara F304 Renault 4. Ian Dyk Team BRM Dallara F304 Speiss Opel 5. Chris Alajajian Protecnica Racing Dallara F304 Renault 6. Chris Gilmour Cooltemp Racing Dallara F304 Speiss Opel 7. Nathan Caratti Insight F3 Dallara F304 Renault 8. Leanne Tander Piccola Scuderia Corse Dallara F301 Fiat 9. Michael Caruso Piccola Scuderia Corse Dallara F301 Fiat 10. Tim Macrow Tim Macrow Racing Dallara F301 Speiss Opel