LOCAL DRIVER CHRIS GILMOUR QUICKEST IN HOME ROUND PRACTICE Chris Gilmour has kicked off his only home race meeting this year in the best possible matter by topping Friday's two practice sessions for round seven of the Kumho Tyres Australian ...
LOCAL DRIVER CHRIS GILMOUR QUICKEST IN HOME ROUND PRACTICE
Chris Gilmour has kicked off his only home race meeting this year in the best possible matter by topping Friday's two practice sessions for round seven of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship at Queensland Raceway.
Gilmour, who lives just 40 minutes from the circuit located in Ipswich, took his #17 SnatchIT.com.au Dallara F304 -- Spiess to a best lap of 1m07.0522 in the second of two sessions today to continue a stretch of revitalized form for the laconic Queenslander.
The family-run team scored a podium at Phillip Island a fortnight ago and looks set to continue that momentum this weekend, in a bid to give the drivers' hard working engineer / mechanic / team manager and father, Errol, a good Father's Day present this Sunday.
"Friday means nothing, its Sunday that we want to be at the top of the timesheets," A cautious Gilmour said this afternoon.
"We made some major changes to the car between rounds and it's been a step forward for us. The car is good and I know that there is more to come from it tomorrow -- I wasn't pushing at 100% today.
"It will be nice to give dad a win in the SnatchIT-mobile this weekend." He said.
After his engine failed at Phillip Island leaving him with just a solitary point from the weekend, Victorian Tim Macrow's move into the Cooltemp Racing Dallara F304 -- Spiess has looked to pay off after setting the second fastest time today.
Despite having to adapt to a new car, Macrow's best time of 1m07.1975 left him just a few tenths behind Gilmour and in good shape for a strong weekend.
Astuti Motorsport's dynamic duo was similarly strong, New Zealand-based Rookie sensation Andy Knight particularly impressive in opening practice after logging second fastest time.
Knight, and championship contender team mate Michael Trimble were within the top four in both sessions today following a successful test at the 3.12km Ipswich circuit on in varying conditions Wednesday.
In a sign that this weekend's top six will be extremely competitive, promising performances coming today from both Stuart Kostera and Matt Sofi.
Kostera, driving his PHR Scuderia Dallara F304 -- Renault, notched fourth-fastest time in opening practice today despite being forced to endure a slipping clutch in the recently purchased car. The West Aussie and his crew were unable to rectify the problem in time for the second session today leaving Kostera looking forward to continuing his steep Formula 3 learning curve in qualifying tomorrow.
Sofi was also strong -- his new sponsor, Sydney's 'Lift' Nightclub -- seemingly propelling the Sydneysider to better things in his Benchmark Motorsport's Dallara F301.
"It helps when the driver is on the ball, but things are going really well for us so far," he said.
"The car is getting better and better. It's all about getting the miles in these things and working out how to set them up and how to drive them. We learnt a lot at the test Wednesday and again today so things are looking good."
There were drams today for Ricky Occhipinti, the Geelong-based National Class leader forced to withdraw from the meeting thanks to a complete loss of compression in the number four cylinder of his Dallara's engine.
"It's a shame to come all this way only for this to happen in first practice, but that's the nature of the sport so we will just have to move on and get it fixed." He said.
Chris Barry topped the National Class timesheets today in Occhipinti's absence, leading top Trophy Class competitor Bill Maddocks, Lauren Gray and local driver Ian Haines.
The Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship will swing into action once again tomorrow, with two, 20-minute sessions at the 3.1km Queensland Raceway circuit to be held to decide the Starting order for Sunday's two 20-lap races.