BATTLE LINES DRAWN AS CLUCAS AND ALAJAJIAN SPLIT WAKEFIELD F3 POLE POSITIONS Ben Clucas and Chris Alajajian have gone head to head in two exciting Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship qualifying sessions at Wakefield Park today. The...
BATTLE LINES DRAWN AS CLUCAS AND ALAJAJIAN SPLIT WAKEFIELD F3 POLE POSITIONS
Ben Clucas and Chris Alajajian have gone head to head in two exciting Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship qualifying sessions at Wakefield Park today.
The two young stars each scored a pole position at the 2.2km circuit, Clucas scoring the top spot for race one whilst Alajajian scored his first career Formula 3 pole with a stunning run in the afternoon session that saw him score the top spot by under one tenth of a second.
The second session witnessed a thrilling head-to-head contest between the two drivers, who regularly traded quick times at the top of the charts only to be settled in the favour of Alajajian late in the session.
Earlier in the day, Clucas banked a fast early lap to secure a strong pole position for the opeining race.
For Clucas, the race one pole position was the culmination of a strong weekend's work that saw him impressively top both practice sessions yesterday by huge margins.
The 21-year-old from the UK said that the race one pole was particularly good.
"The race one pole was really good. We did a couple of laps early on and then sat out the rest of the session." He said.
"We were fortunate that the buffer was big enough to keep ourselves on top and get pole.
"Qualifying two was a bit disappointing, but we just got caught in traffic. To only be seven-hundredths from pole isn't such a bad thing." He said.
Alajajian's first pole came after a day of consistent improvement, consistently edging ahead of his rival in an exciting session that saw the two never separated by more than a few tenths for the entire 20-minute session.
The Insight F3 Dallara was the only car to get underneath the 55-second bracket in the session.
"I'm very happy to get pole for race two," Sydney-based driver said.
"I've been basically writing an essay since the session for the crew to try and work out how to go faster, so they will be pouring over that tonight to see if we can go even better tomorrow.
"We certainly improved between sessions." He added.
Scoring a pair of third place results today was Michael Trimble, the Astuti Motorsport driver struggling for outright speed although only approximately six tenths from pole in both sessions today.
Fourth in both sessions was Victorian Tim Macrow, who had a consistent day as he continued to develop his F301 -- Speiss, the only 2001-model car in the top six.
"We're literally the meat in the '04 sandwich," smiled Macrow.
"The car is going quite well. There actually isn't much to report from today, we're just doing the laps and improving as much as we can each time out.
"We've actually got date (logging) for the first time this weekend since we purchased this car a while ago so the plan is to study it tonight and see where things are at."
Scoring a pair of fifths today was Leanne Tander, who expressed disappointment at the results.
"We were very keen to start the year strongly so it's a bit frustrating to be where we are," she mused.
"But we have to keep at it and keep working on the car to make it better. I know that I can race well so hopefully we can improve then."
The remainder of the field endured differentiating fortunes.
Chris Gilmour was baffled by a lack of pace today, his Cooltemp racing Dallara struggling to match the leading bunch.
A broken starter motor caused Gilmour to end the second session early after bringing out the red flag.
National Class competitor Tim Berryman continued to impress, leading newcomer Chris Barry in the standings for the new class.
Berryman, who hails from near Wagga Wagga in Central New South Wales, was consistently nipping at the heels of the leading bunch and expects to improve in the races tomorrow.
Stephen Borness carded strong eighth and seventh-placed results in the two sessions today, whilst Jason Vince and Ricky Occhipinti rounded out the top ten in both sessions after missing Friday running.
Lauren Gray continued to improve, tagging on to the back of the National Class runners to post increasingly competitive times in her Trophy Class Dallara F396.
The Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star Gets underway tomorrow with two, 20 lap races at Wakefield Park.