WET WEATHER MAKES FOR UNPREDICTABLE RESULTS IN FRIDAY PRACTICE AT MALLALA TORRENTIAL Downpours have made opening practice for the fourth round of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship a battle to merely stay on the track ...
WET WEATHER MAKES FOR UNPREDICTABLE RESULTS IN FRIDAY PRACTICE AT MALLALA
TORRENTIAL Downpours have made opening practice for the fourth round of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship a battle to merely stay on the track itself.
Greasy conditions in first practice and completely saturated conditions in the second have also made the form guide for this weekend even less clearer, several surprise names appearing at the pointy end of the time sheets today.
Piccola Scuderia driver Neil McFadyen topped the first session ahead of Leanne Tander whilst Scud Racing's Stuart Kostera topped the saturated afternoon practice in his Dallara F307 Mercedes.
Whilst McFadyen's time of 1m07.29s represented a greasy, yet not completely wet track in P1, Kostera could only manage 1m24.88s in the second session in conditions that turned to the ribbon of Mallala tarmac into a ribbon of water more that looked more like a river, than a racetrack.
Surprises came in the form of National class drivers -- and rivals for the 2004 championship fight -- Karl Reindler and Chris Gilmour. Whilst Gilmour was third fastest in the first session, 2004 champion Reindler took his R-Tek F3 Dallara F304 Spiess Opel to second overall in practice two, using his vast experience gained from years in Australian & British F3, and A1GP competition to score the strong result.
Team BRM and F3 rookie John Magro (#3 Rockstar Energy Drink Dallara F307) used that he could also factor if the rain remains -- as forecast -- this weekend after scoring the third quickest time in P2.
South Australians Nick Percat and Jesse Wakeman both missed todays running; Percat due to existing testing commitments interstate whilst Wakeman -- who has more miles at Mallala than any other track -- was confident enough after Wednesday's shakedown of his rebuilt car to save his running for qualifying tomorrow.
Session two fast-man Kostera said that whilst he was pleased to see the #35 car on top of the timesheet, today's results meant little in the long run.
"I guess we won the Friday Puddle Splashing contest!," The affable West Aussie said.
"It's nice to be fastest but it doesn't mean a lot. It's hard to judge wether we have made any progress with this car, compared to where we were before the round, until we get some dry running.
"If it stays wet we may have a shot, but none of the guys further up (the championship) order did many laps in the wet session so it's pretty hard to work out who's where."
Such was the unpredictability of the second session, the top five results were made up of two championship class cars, two National class cars and the impressive Trophy class entry of Andrew Mill.
The Property Solutions Group racing driver was fifth in P2 -- just 1.1 seconds from the ultimate pace.
Heavy rain, hail and winds are forecast for the remainder of the weekends activities at Mallala raceway, the unpredictable results that have centred around F3 this season set to continue.
Earlier this season race two at Eastern Creeks' season opener was cancelled after a massive downpour prior to the start flooded the track to an extent where it was judged unsafe for cars to compete.
The cars and stars from the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship will contest two qualifying sessions tomorrow -- in advance of two 14-lap races to be held Sunday.