MAT SOFI SCORES FIRST CAREER F3 PODIUM WITH AWESOME ISLAND RUN Total Developments / Transwest Racing driver Mat Sofi has posted a career-best performance to score his first ever Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship podium finish at ...
MAT SOFI SCORES FIRST CAREER F3 PODIUM WITH AWESOME ISLAND RUN
Total Developments / Transwest Racing driver Mat Sofi has posted a career-best performance to score his first ever Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship podium finish at Phillip Island at the weekend.
Sofi was in scintillating form at Australia's fastest race track and after a pair of challenging sessions in qualifying he raced brilliantly to record stunning results on Sunday.
In race one Sofi started ninth and in the early laps was embroiled in a competitive dice for the minor positions inside the top ten -- but that would soon change.
After a safety car period to recover a stranded car Sofi's #2 Total Developments Dallara F307 Mugen Honda entry began to charge and he quickly worked his way though the field towards the front. Often the fastest car on the circuit, he broke the five-year old Phillip Island F3 Lap Record in the process.
By the end of the 14-lap race Sofi ended his charge in 4th position -- but rapidly closing on the three leaders at the time -- after what had been a stunning charge.
But, the best was yet to come. Starting race two from eighth place Sofi again went on the attack from the outset and gained several positions on the opening lap. A drive though penalty for two of the leading cars also assisted his charge and suddenly, at mid-race distance, he found himself in third place.
With Neil McFadyen pressing hard, Mat defended his position with everything he had and after a side-by-side finish, scored his first ever F3 podium.
Sofi was delighted with the weekends' results that not only gave him his largest ever weekend haul of championship points, but set the stage for a stunning run home in the second half of the 2008 Australian Drivers' Championship season.
"It's certainly been the best weekend of the year, it's been fantastic," Sofi said.
"It could have been even better but qualifying was horrible, nothing went right. I got traffic on my lap in qualifying one and probably didn't go hard enough in the second qualifying session before the rain came and lost any chance at a grid position -- but we rebounded well!
"If things had gone a little differently I think I could have won the first race. We improved the car a lot and it was absolutely brilliant. Unfortunately we had a failed sensor and a plug lead come off the engine in the last two laps which cost us time in the end. Race two was good and to get that result gives us a lot of confidence."
Sofi said that he was confident the team would come home strongly in the remaining three rounds of the 2008 championship season.
"We tested recently and found a lot in the car -- it's the best it's ever been," he enthused.
"It's great to have broken though for the first podium. There have been several opportunities that we haven't quite been able to make happen so its nice to get the result. Thanks to all of my sponsors because they have stuck by us for a long time and now we want to give them more of a reward and win some races.
"Bring on Eastern Creek!"
Mat now sits fifth in the championship with 70 points to his name, with three rounds (six races) remaining on the schedule.
Eastern Creeks' sixth round of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star will be held between July 11 -- 13.