BRILLIANT BARKER BREAKS THROUGH AT MALLALA AFTER NARROWLY missing out on pole position, Ben Barker has returned serve to his Team BRM team mate Mitch Evans by taking out the first sprint race of this weekend's fourth F3 Australian Drivers ...
BRILLIANT BARKER BREAKS THROUGH AT MALLALA
AFTER NARROWLY missing out on pole position, Ben Barker has returned serve to his Team BRM team mate Mitch Evans by taking out the first sprint race of this weekend's fourth F3 Australian Drivers Championship round for 2010.
Barker streaked away from the field to win a chaotic 13-lap race at Mallala Raceway today after the start was delayed due to a massive rain shower that hit the circuit as the cars gridded up.
It was Barker's first win in just his fourth F3 round, the 12 points gained helping him close the buffer to series leaders Ton Tweedie and Mitch Evans.
"My season has been up and down like a yo-yo so this is a really good feeling to come out on top," the 18-year-old Brit said.
"In a way I would have liked to have battled with Mitch because I had the pace all race long. I closed in on him after the start and tried to outbreak him, which is where he ran off.
"After that i had a comfortable race and just concentrated on being consistent and fast."
Despite holding a twenty-second buffer at the flag, Barker said he pushed to the end to ensure he got the races fastest lap.
"I had Craig (Rundle, engineer) on the radio telling me to slow down and cruise to the line, but I kept pushing on because I badly wanted that bonus point for fastest lap which we got at the end.
"I'm feeling really comfortable in the car at the moment. It was a good win and I'm really pleased."
Starting behind the safety car, Evans leaped into the lead but was under immediate pressure from the almost-identical Dallara of Barker from the first lap.
Running nose-to-tail, Barker made an attempt on Evans at the turn seven hairpin on the second lap, and that's where the race was turned on its head.
In what was his first mistake this year, Evans ran wide on the corner and bounced across the gravel trap, barely avoiding being bogged in the wet sand before escaping out the other side in last place.
"I had the brake bias set a bit to much towards the front and just couldn't pull it up," he said.
"It's frustrating because the car felt good but it's just one of those things that happens."
He then began a charge through the field but was forced to settle for third - narrowly behind Tom Tweedie - at the line.
Tweedie had progressed forward from fourth on the grid, passing Zhang Shan Qi for second place mid way through the event.
"We'll take that," Tweedie grinned post race.
"We had a good battle with Zhang there before I got past. I saw Mitch closing in at the end and whilst he had a faster car I knew I could keep him behind me. He came close but I was able to place the car where I needed to and just held him off.
"Given the weekend we've had so far this is very good for the championship. Hopefully tomorrow goes just as well."
Zhang finished fourth but held a podium position for most of the race in his best performance to date, clearly showing massive improvement in his Team BRM with PTRS Dallara.
Martin Short continued his impressive F3 debut with fifth whilst Josh Burdon was sixth as he continued his learning curve.
Tomorrow will feature the second sprint race before the 22 lap feature to complete round four.
-source: aus f3