REINDLER AND FARRELL SHARE OPES PRIME NATIONAL CLASS HONOURS ON OPENING DAY Chris Reindler led practice in the Opes Prime National Class in changeable conditions today, in the opening round of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship at...
REINDLER AND FARRELL SHARE OPES PRIME NATIONAL CLASS HONOURS ON OPENING DAY
Chris Reindler led practice in the Opes Prime National Class in changeable conditions today, in the opening round of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship at Eastern Creek.
Reindler first had to steer his TanderSport Dallara F304 Spiess Opel through rain in the first practice session before setting the quickest time in the Opes Prime National Class later in the afternoon.
"I haven't had a lot of laps in the car before -- only about 50 before the meeting, so I had a lot to learn but I feel like I'm gaining confidence quickly, so I'm really happy to finish my first day on top," Reindler said.
Reindler was only third in class during the first session -- his first time driving a Formula 3 car in the wet, but he felt more at home after the Eastern Creek circuit had dried out late in the afternoon.
"There's still a bit left to tune and the track wasn't ideal," he said, "I think we have a pretty good chance at getting pole tomorrow so I'm happy with our progress."
Second in both the wet morning and dry afternoon session was Astuti Motorsport driver Daniel Schulz (Dallara F304 Renault Sodemo).
Consistency was the key for the Victorian, who feels that with patchy weather forecast for the rest of the meeting he has a strong chance no matter what the weather throws at him.
"The first session was very slippery and took a lot of time to get temperatures up," Schulz said. "The car otherwise felt really good in the wet, but it was only first practice so there was no point in taking any risks but we were happy with our time.
Schulz was at the top of the class with quickest time for most of the afternoon session, but Reindler just managed to beat him by two-hundredths of a second at the end.
"We're feeling really good for qualifying tomorrow, but it's going to come down to getting a good run through the traffic and it could be a bit of a lottery," he said.
20-year-old Irishman Lee Farrell led the Opes Prime National Class in the morning with a best lap that bettered Schulz, in second, by over three seconds.
"The car felt good during the entire session, so we've got a good baseline wet setup if it rains later on, but it also started to dry out towards the end of the session, so we were able to push harder and set a really good time," Farrell said.
However, Farrell wasn't able to repeat the performance in the second session, and set the fourth fastest time in the class.
"We had problems with the engine in the second practice session, so we weren't able to go as quick as we otherwise could," he said.
In the Australian Formula 3 Trophy Class a young 16-year-old by the name of Justin Tate steered his Scud Racing Dallara F301 Spiess Opel to the quickest times in the class during both sessions.
What truly made his performance today extraordinary was that along the way he set the 11th and 14th fastest times overall -- beating both National and Championship class competitors in both sessions, despite driving an older generation car.
The Championship Class - for the newest cars in the field - was led by Nathan Caratti (Opes Prime Team BRM / Dallara F307 Mercedes Benz), who set a time that was over 20 seconds quicker than the first session, which was led by team-mate James Winslow.
SESSION 1 - National Top 5
1. Lee Farrell 1m49.7954
2. Daniel Schulz 1m53.0932
3. Chris Reindler 1m56.2555
4. Daniel Cotton 2m00.2692
5. James Crozier 2m02.0897
Championship Class: James Winslow 1m44.2853
Trophy Class: Justin Tate 1m58.9433
SESSION 2 - National Top 5
1. Chris Reindler 1m26.9568
2. Daniel Schulz 1m26.9790
3. Daniel Cotton 1m27.4368
4. Lee Farrell Dallara 1m28.3143
5. Mathew Radisich 1m28.8363
Championship Class: Nathan Caratti 1m24.0931
Trophy Class: Justin Tate 1m29.4692