A WARNING TO HIS RIVALS - HOLLINGS DOMINATES F3 FIELD AT ORAN PARK. IT was all ominous signs for the chasing pack today when British driver Charlie Hollings dominated round two of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS...
A WARNING TO HIS RIVALS - HOLLINGS DOMINATES F3 FIELD AT ORAN PARK.
IT was all ominous signs for the chasing pack today when British driver Charlie Hollings dominated round two of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star at Oran Park.
Astuti driver Hollings, from Yorkshire in the UK, capped off a perfect qualifying day yesterday by securing two commanding race victories under heavy skies to vault up the championship standings after a slow start to the season.
However behind Hollings Tim Macrow's pair of second-place finishes elevated him to a clear championship lead after two rounds of the chase for the Australian Drivers Championship, leading Hollings and a consistent Stuart Kostera as the circus heads to Phillip Island in two weeks.
Hollings won the first race by over two seconds after commanding early-race pace.
Leanne Tander, after starting from the front row, slipped behind Tim Macrow after the start and despite placing pressure on the Victorian for a good portion of the 15-lap affair was unable to execute a pass and settled for her first podium of the season.
The second race was more of the same for the top three, with Hollings clearly leading a closely matched Macrow and Tander to the line at the end of the race.
Behind the leaders, however, three drivers -- Marco Mapelli, Stuart Kostera and Mat Sofi -- were penalised for jumping the start and sent to pit lane for drive-through penalties.
Mapelli rebounded the best of the three, setting the quickest race lap to secure a bonus championship point.
The main beneficiaries of the penalties were James Winslow and Chris Gilmour, who both worked their way cleanly through the field to secure top five positions to end a tough weekend in a positive fashion for both drivers.
It was all Hollings out in front though, completing a near-perfect weekend to score his first championship race wins.
"I think it was always close in qualifying but by the end of the weekend it looked like we had the advantage to everyone which is what we really wanted," he said.
"Testing was the key for us because it was great to have a test day and work together to log some laps and dial ourselves in. It's so good it feels like I could go faster!
"Albert Park was great (He won twice) to get some results but to be honest this feels so much better," Hollings added.
"We needed the championship points and I really wanted this. Two poles and two wins is really satisfying and it's really helped our championship -- it was important for us."
Macrow was a philosophical with his results but was pleased to be in front in the all-important championship standings.
"It's nice to lead the championship but I'm a little bit disappointed. We had a pair of seconds but we weren't right on top of the car and weren't quite there," he explained.
"We didn't hit the nail on the head but to get through with two seconds we can't be too disappointed."
Chris Barry was the man of the moment in the Kumho Tyres National Class, dominating both races today to continue his perfect run -- he has 88 points from a maximum of 88 after two rounds -- in the class for the older-model F301 cars.
Lauren Gray continued her learning curve after stepping up from the Trophy Class last season and posted two consistent second-place finishes today to move to second in the championship.
Just two weeks separate this round and the third in the championship at Phillip Island, in Victoria.