TALENT-RICH FIELD HEADS BACK TO THE ISLAND FOR MOST OPEN ROUND YET At least ten Cars with a realistic chance of winning races outright look likely to make next weekend's sixth round of the 2007 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship one...
TALENT-RICH FIELD HEADS BACK TO THE ISLAND FOR MOST OPEN ROUND YET
At least ten Cars with a realistic chance of winning races outright look likely to make next weekend's sixth round of the 2007 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship one of the most competitive on record.
The recent additions to Australia's fastest open wheel field of Barton Mawer and Ian Dyk add years of experience and proven Formula 3 winning records to what is already the closest field in series history.
Queenslander Chris Gilmour and young Kiwi driver Mathew Radisich will also return to the series to complete a field in which picking a winner could prove more challenging than the high-speed Phillip Island circuit itself.
And the series returnees' could impact the intense battle for the championship as well -- three drivers split by less than ten points after the first five rounds of the Gold Star series.
Charlie Hollings (#11 Astuti Motorsport) leads local hope Tim Macrow (#60 Cooltemp / Scud Racing) by just six points after assuming the lead of the championship three weeks ago at Eastern Creek in Sydney.
Leanne Tander remains well in the fight with her Fleetcare TanderSport #42 car a further three points off the championship lead.
Fourth-placed James Winslow will be looking to use a change of team as motivation to succeed at the track where he took his first Australian Formula 3 race win in May this year, the Brit's Team Opes Prime Dallara now run by Team BRM for the remainder of the season.
Fifth-placed Marco Mapelli, from Italy's north, elevated himself into championship contention with a stunning debut race win at Eastern Creek in early July, his first for the season. Mapelli sits just 31 points from the championship lead and, with 44 points available throughout a weekend, could potentially lead after this weekends round.
Chris Gilmour's return will see him looking to join Mawer, Dyk and Mat Sofi as a spanner in the respective championship works of the leading contenders.
Gilmour last raced at Oran Park earlier this season (in round two) and finished in the top five. His small Queensland based operation has spent the time out of the championship developing the 24-year old's Drivebuy.com.au Dallara and the team hopes to be competitive at the Island.
Another looking to impress will be local driver Daniel Schulz, who will step up from the Kumho National Class to tackle the outright contenders in the #10 Astuti Motorsport / Lista entry this weekend.
Schulz has been an impressive rookie in the class for the older, '99 -- '01 generation cars this season and will drive the car raced to pole positions and podium finishes by Michael Trimble in the last two rounds of the championship, in his Championship Class debut.
Youngster Radisich, the nephew of Touring car ace Paul, returns for this third F3 hit out this season after a tough learning weekend in his championship debut -- at Phillip Island earlier this year -- resulted in a solid points scoring finish in race two.
In the Kumho National Class Chris Barry (#6 Data#3 Dallara F301) will race unchallenged to the title after Schulz' decision to step into a championship class car this weekend.
Barry, from Sydney, takes a 96-point lead into the sixth round of the championship with Schulz his only realistic competitor had he raced in the class this weekend.
As such Barry -- thanks to eight class wins from ten starts -- can claim the title his regardless of what occurs this weekend.
South Australian youngster Jesse Wakeman will return to make his second National Class start and aims to put pressure on Barry ahead of a concerted attack next season.
The sixth round of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star will be contested over two, 14-lap races as part of the Shannons National Motor Racing Championships this weekend.
The event will also feature an extended, 105-minute practice session Friday morning.