F3

AUSF3: Mallala: Mat Sofi preview

MAT SOFI READY TO RETURN TO MALLALA; 'A GREAT TRACK FOR RACING PEOPLE' On first impressions, South Australia's Mallala Raceway looks like a ribbon of fairly straightforward tarmac situated in the middle of a vast expanse of flat, green farmland...

MAT SOFI READY TO RETURN TO MALLALA; 'A GREAT TRACK FOR RACING PEOPLE'

On first impressions, South Australia's Mallala Raceway looks like a ribbon of fairly straightforward tarmac situated in the middle of a vast expanse of flat, green farmland about an hour out of Adelaide.

But look closer and instead you will find a demanding, fast, no-holes-barred kind of circuit that sorts the cream from the crop and offers a substantial challenge to everyone who competes there -- especially those in the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star.

Australia's fastest racing cars return to Mallala this weekend and Sydney-based Transwest Racing Dallara F307 Mugen Honda driver Mat Sofi is ready for the challenge.

Coming off the back of a strong performance on home turf recently, Sofi, 22, says that Mallala is one of the best tracks on the schedule for producing close and competitive racing -- making this perhaps one of the most open rounds of the year to date.

"At Mallala, you can still be competitive if you don't have a car that's quite 100%," Sofi explained.

"It's a fast track but it doesn't have that many high speed corners. It's more of a stop and go circuit which means a driver can use the braking zones and the areas when you are putting the power down to make up time. If you don't have a brilliant car there you can drive around it and still be competitive.

"It's a track I really enjoy. It's challenging and suits these cars down the ground. We can race well here and there are plenty of places to have a shot at passing, which makes it a very enjoyable place to visit."

After spending most of 2007 racing with an Adelaide team, Sofi has plenty of testing experience at Mallala - another source of confidence for the weekend ahead.

Sofi and his Transwest Racing team -- run by five-time Australian Drivers Championship winning operation RALT Australia -- will look towards Wednesday's test session to give them an indication of where they will sit this weekend.

"We test on Wednesday and that's always a pretty good indicator of where we sit in the scheme of things," Sofi said.

"Obviously we have to compete with Team BRM, who use Mallala as their home test track and have done plenty of days there in the '07 cars, but we were fast there last season and I've done more days testing at Mallala than I have at the tracks in Sydney -- so I think we will be OK.

"I want to be in a position to challenge for wins on race day and continually improve my championship position. I think Mallala is the place to do it and I can't wait!"

Transwest Racing and Mat Sofi will be in action across two races this Sunday, May 18th.

Additionally, check out SBS' Speedweek from 1:30PM on Sunday to catch all the action from Oran Parks' third round of the championship held recently. Replays are also scheduled across the FOX Sports network on Inside Speed.

-credit: mathewsofi.com

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Series F3