<pre> 2001 Australian Formula 3 Championship Round 3 - Phillip Island, 26-28 May 2001 </pre> Championship leader Peter Hackett had it mostly his way at the Island for the third round of the national championship. Phillip Island has not...
<pre> 2001 Australian Formula 3 Championship Round 3 - Phillip Island, 26-28 May 2001 </pre> Championship leader Peter Hackett had it mostly his way at the Island for the third round of the national championship. Phillip Island has not been so kind for either Hackett or his Piccola Scuderia team in the past. Hackett put his good showing down to hard work by the team to be 100% prepared for this meeting. The Bronte Rundle team pushed Hackett all weekend with great drives from both Darren Palmer and Rookie Kiwi Daynom Templeman. The RCH team of Chas Jacobsen and James Manderson are still in the wars. Jacobsen having another blow up and Manderson a mystery engine problem. Manderson summing up his season being the same a Mika Hakkinen's at Mclaren this year. But if you're not having bad luck, you're having no luck at all!
The first qualifying went smoothly with the exception of Glen Coombs hitting a tyre wall and Peter Rees doing a 360-degree spin at MG turn. Hackett was in control for most of the session until the final minutes when Palmer had a real dash at it. But getting baulked by a slower car on his final lap put him second on the grid behind Hackett. Third was Templeman on his first visit to the track. Nipping at his heals was Mike Beeley in the M-Speed Dallara with Damien Digby close behind. Then followed the Coombs Clan, Chris ahead of Glen with Sydney's David Choon following them. Fred Douglas and Graeme Holmes made up the top ten with Frank Cascone the leading Level 2 driver in 14th.
The second qualifying session was started 10 minuets after a downpour, so most teams went for a little more down force. Hackett with stamped his authority on the session confidently setting a 1m28.8992 to comfortable snatch pole. Darren Palmer followed with Templeman close by. Beeley and Digby followed then by Chris and Glen Coombs, Holmes. Level 2 pole was Cascone again.
The first race was a cracker. With Hackett getting the jump on Palmer, Templeman and Beeley. The four nose a stern into the first corner. Digby started in 3rd gear and subsequently was 2nd last into the first corner just ahead of John Boothman who started in the pits due to a slipping clutch. Hackett wasted no time in pulling away setting a new lap record on his way to an effortless win. Palmer and Templeman followed, unable to match the pace of the Piccola Scuderia driver. M-Speed's Mike Beeley was a fine fourth followed by a recovering Digby. Frank Cascone took Level 2 honours.
Race 2 was more of the same. Hackett again winning and taking a good lead in the Championship standing's with Palmer and Templeman close behind. Beeley took another fine 4th with Digby and Chris Coombs battling for 5th & 6th being the highlight of the race. Glen Coombs became unstuck at MG turn beaching his Dallara. Frank Cascone again lead home the level 2 boys.
So off to Queensland raceway for the next round. Hopefully some sun and warmer weather will greet leader Hackett and the chasing pack. See you then.
- Kim Saffron