F3

AUSF3: Symmons Plains Friday report

SEVEN CARS ALREADY UNDER F3 LAP RECORD ON FAST SYMMONS FRIDAY Some seriously hot times have somewhat displaced the freezing cold weather in today's opening practice sessions for round 2 of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship at...

SEVEN CARS ALREADY UNDER F3 LAP RECORD ON FAST SYMMONS FRIDAY

Some seriously hot times have somewhat displaced the freezing cold weather in today's opening practice sessions for round 2 of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship at Symmons Plains Raceway.

With James Cressey's Formula 3 lap record of 52.3 seconds in the sights of teams and drivers this weekend, seven of the fourteen car field that took to the circuit today unofficially undercut the benchmark, with many tipping that there will be quicker times to come tomorrow.

With no timing system available today, Team BRM driver Ben Clucas was unofficially quickest thanks to a lap time of 50.9 seconds in this afternoon's second session.

Coming off a clean sweep of the championship's opening round at Wakefield Park, Clucas has picked up where he left off and was quick from his opening lap today.

Sydneysider Chris Alajajian was similarly impressive, rebounding from a horror run at the Australian Grand Prix Formula 3 events last week to record second-quickest times in each of today's practice hit outs.

Insight F3 star Alajajian was less than four tenths behind Clucas both times today at a circuit that is expected to produce the closest field for the 2006 Gold Star year.

Michael Trimble and Tim Macrow recorded identical times to each take a share of third fastest today, the two Victorian drivers recording bests of 51.6 seconds in the second session.

The two are coming off vastly different fortunes at the Grand Prix last weekend -- Macrow scoring a fantastic podium whilst Trimble ended his disappointing weekend in the wall after a race long battle with his local counterpart in the final event.

The first run of a brand new car is always a tense situation for a new team, which makes Chris Gilmour's time of 51.8 seconds today's morning session even more impressive.

Niggling mechanical difficulties sidelined the car for the second session but the Queenslander was left confident in the knowledge of the cars potential this weekend -- targeting a podium result if not better.

Leanne Tander worked her times down in her first competitive look at the Symmons Plains circuit today, improving by 1.1 seconds in the second session to post a strong 52-second dead lap this afternoon.

After completing a solid test session on Wednesday, Tander is looking as a likely contender this weekend should the considerable improvement continue.

National Class contender Ricky Occhipinti proved he could be a strong outright contender this weekend, carding 52.0-second results in both sessions to be well within striking distance of the front row.

Occhipinti is driving the very car that holds the F3 lap record at Symmons Plains and was one of the seven drivers to undercut the existing benchmark today. The Geelong-based driver was also quick to indicate that there was at least another half-second in the car proving his intentions of being a front runner in Tasmania.

Formula Ford standout Nathan Caratti carded strong times for Insight F3 today, whilst Stephen Borness' Adnet Technology crew made significant changes to his car in an effort to replicate their strong qualifying pace shown at Wakefield Park.

All 14 drivers completed laps today, the only incident coming after Scud Racing driver Lauren Gray collected the wall at turn one, removing a corner from the Trophy Class Dallara and sideling the promising Melbournian early on in the day.

Hard work from the crew has seen the team restore the car to race ready conditions for tomorrow's qualifying sessions.

Gearbox ratio changes were the other order of the day -- seven teams changing their settings at some stage in order to improve the all important acceleration and top speed attributes important for the Tasmanian circuit.

Qualifying gets underway with two sessions tomorrow, with two, 25-lap races Sunday to continue the Gold Star battle.

-www.formula3.com.au

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About this article
Series F3
Drivers Ben Clucas , Stephen Borness , Chris Alajajian , Tim Macrow , Leanne Tander , Nathan Caratti , Chris Gilmour , Lauren Gray