AUSF3: Phillip Island race report

ONCE, TWICE.. EIGHT TIMES A WINNER Caratti puts one hand on Kumho Tyres Australian F3 title at Phillip Island. Aaron Caratti is proving to be an almost unbeatable prospect of late in this year's Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship, ...

Caratti puts one hand on Kumho Tyres Australian F3 title at Phillip Island.

Aaron Caratti is proving to be an almost unbeatable prospect of late in this year's Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship, taking his seventh and eighth wins of the season -- his fifth and sixth wins consecutively - at Phillip Island today and extending his series lead to a margin that is close to becoming insurmountable.

Caratti steered his Insight F3 Dallara F304 clear of plenty of action in this weekend's sixth round of the championship, plenty of drama and controversy throughout the field producing some interesting results and tightening up the points margins in the series' standings between a number of notable contenders.

After becoming involved in a ferocious dice with season long rivals Michael Trimble and Chris Alajajian early in race one, Caratti took advantage of a coming together between the Protecnica driver and a backmarker to take a measured one second victory ahead of Trimble.

The second race was far more clear-cut for the West Australian driver, again using sheer consistency and pace to take a two-second win.

"We did what we came here to do," Caratti said afterwards. "The car was fantastic all weekend, and the crew have done a fantastic job. I'm really keen to wrap up the championship at the A1 meeting in November, so we're really looking forward to that."

Michael Trimble returned to some of his early season form, two second places a solid job from a driver who was praying for rain heading into today's two, 14-lap races after dominating wet Friday practice.

"We were close, but not close enough to Caratti - We just didn't quite have the pace to match him over the entire race distance," he mused. "Unfortunately the championship is looking pretty unlikely at the moment so we're going to test before Eastern Creek and try to go out and win some races before the end of the season." He said.

2004 Gold Star Champion Neil McFadyen kicked off his Kumho Tyres F3 campaign with a sequence of strong performances, highlighted by a massive battle with Chris Gilmour in the latter stages of the second race, reversing the order from the opening encounter.

McFadyen was justifiably pleased with his first shot at F3 competition.

"I'm really happy with how things have gone," he said. "James Rosenberg (Car owner) has been fantastic, and it's been great to race with the other competitors in Formula 3. Im certainly looking to come back and complete the season out after this weekend's run."

Queenslander Chris Gilmour's good run of late continued, scoring a strong podium in the opening race this morning. Gilmour backed it up with a strong fourth in race two to move within striking distance of Chris Alajajian for third in the championship.

Alajajian had a horror run at the Island, two separate coming togethers with different contenders ending both his races early. A collision with a backmarker in race one leaving his team to replace the Right hand side front suspension and front win -- the car just making the race two starts.

Tim Macrow was another to suffer a torrid weekend, Suspension and tyre dramas (caused by a broken front shock absorber) leaving the former Formula Ford driver struggling down the timesheets. Kiwi Daynom Templeman's first run in a Formula 3 car since 2001 produced mixed results, a fifth in race one the weekend's highlight after a coming together with Chris Alajajian ended his second race early -- and in the sand pit.

16-year-old Kiwi Marc Williams had a brilliant run in Kumho Tyres Trophy Class competition, two wins in class and sixth and fifth outright results by far and away his best effort in the series yet. Williams moves his Team BRM Dallara within a handful of points to class leader Bill Maddocks despite the Kiwi missing the Eastern Creek round of the championship.

With 88 points available over the final two rounds, Aaron Caratti can now think about wrapping up the series at the penultimate event of the championship at Eastern Creek, his lead of 61 points over Michael Trimble meaning Caratti needs just 27 more points than the Victorian driver to seal the 2005 Gold Star award. Alajajian's poor weekend means he drops 101 points off the series lead and out of contention for the championship.

The penultimate round of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship will be held at the Australian A1 Grand Prix of Nations at Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway in November this year. <pre> Championship Points -- after 6 of 8 rounds 1. Aaron Caratti Insight F3 219 2. Michael Trimble Team BRM 158 3. Chris Alajajian Protecnica Racing 118 4. Chris Gilmour Gilmour Racing 106 5. Tim Macrow Macrow Racing 67


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Series F3
Drivers Neil McFadyen , Chris Alajajian , Marc Williams , Tim Macrow , Aaron Caratti , Chris Gilmour , Phillip Island
Teams Williams