F3

AUSF3: Eastern Creek round five race report

NO CREEKS FROM CARATTI AFTER DEMOLISHING DISPLAY More crushing performacnes from Caratti in chase for the Gold Star award. With the memory of fellow West Australian Karl Reindler's dominance of Eastern Creek's F3 round in 2004 in the forefront...

NO CREEKS FROM CARATTI AFTER DEMOLISHING DISPLAY
More crushing performacnes from Caratti in chase for the Gold Star award.

With the memory of fellow West Australian Karl Reindler's dominance of Eastern Creek's F3 round in 2004 in the forefront of his mind, Insight F3 driver Aaron Caratti today crushed the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 field in much a similar fashion to his fellow driver from the west, scoring both races in today's fifth round of the series'

In the process, Caratti established himself a massive lead in the race for the CAMS Gold Star award and the Australian Drivers Championship, capitalising on a tough day from nearest rival Michael Trimble to set himself up for a solid run to the flag with just three of the series' eight rounds remaining.

Caratti's dominance was so complete -- he won race one by three seconds and the second race by a mammoth 7.5 -- that his best lap in the final race was a full second quicker than anyone else in the field.

To cap off his day, Caratti also set a new lap record at the 3.9 KM Sydney circuit, a lap of 1m25.3852 set in race one two tenths of a second under the existing benchmark -- coincidentally also held by Reindler.

"It was really the perfect weekend," expressed Caratti on the podium. "The car was even better in the second race and I was confident that I could pull away from the field, which is exactly what I was able to do.

"The weekend has just given us a great boost in the championship, especially after it being so close for so long at the start of the season. It's set us up really well for the remainder of the year with three rounds to go."

Second overall with a pair of solid second place finishes was Sydneysider Chris Alajajian, not able to match the pace of his former F3 team mate, but a solid performance nonetheless that moved him within striking distance of second in the Championship.

"Second place isn't that bad considering we haven't been able to test yet," the Protecnica Racing driver said. "We have scored some good points this weekend and closed up on the championship, so we're looking forward to the rest of the season to try and get some more good results and win some races."

A pair of thirds capped off a consistent day for Queenslander Chris Gilmour, who surprised everyone by leading the opening lap of the second race after making a blistering start from the second row of the grid. Unable to hold off the leaders, he settled into a solid rhythm to bring the car home within sight of second placed Alajajian.

"If I had got this result last year, I would've been disappointed," he mused. "But this year it's a great result for us. The car was good and it was great to be able to lead the opening lap -- we just didn't have the pace to be able to challenge those two guys in front but we scored some good points and moved into third in the championship."

A disappointed fourth in both races was Team BRM's Michael Trimble having a torrid weekend -- spinning off in race one and stalling on the grid on the race two start. Despite charging through the field in both events to fourth place, Trimble heads to Phillip Island just ten points ahead of Alajajian in the race for second in the championship.

Strong weekend long performances came from Matt Sofi and first time driver Stephen Borness, Sofi taking a pair of fifths in his return to the series, whilst Borness took a sixth place out of the second race after stalling half way through the opening 13 lap encounter.

In another notable performance, Canadian Cody Liebel scored his best ever Kumho tyres Australian Formula 3 championship finish, a racy 7th in the second race a great showing by the Los Angeles based driver, in his first season of F3 competition this year.

Graeme Holmes was the man to beat in the Kumho Tyres Trophy Class, recovering from a race one spin to take out the second race. Rod Anderson capitalised on Holmes' misfortune in race one, taking his first Trophy race of the season in stylish fashion. Bill Maddocks rounded out the podium in both races, Lauren Gray continuing her strong learning curve with an excellent pair of fourth place finishes.

The sixth round of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship will be held at Phillip Island Raceway in a month's time.

<pre> Championship Standings -- after 5 of 8 rounds 1. Aaron Caratti 175 2. Michael Trimble 128 3. Chris Alajajian 118 4. Chris Gilmour 84 5. Tim Macrow 61

Trophy Standings 1. Bill Maddocks 123 2. Marc Williams 94 3. Graeme Holmes 87 4. Rod Anderson 62 5. Lauren Gray 44

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Series F3
Drivers Stephen Borness , Chris Alajajian , Marc Williams , Tim Macrow , Aaron Caratti , Chris Gilmour , Graeme Holmes , Lauren Gray , Karl Reindler , Phillip Island
Teams Williams