Solid second for Francis in Eastern Creek Starlight In a spectacular second round of the 2003 Ford Racing Australian Formula Ford Championship, Brett Francis elevated himself to second place in the championship with a strong performance in both...
Solid second for Francis in Eastern Creek Starlight
In a spectacular second round of the 2003 Ford Racing Australian Formula Ford Championship, Brett Francis elevated himself to second place in the championship with a strong performance in both races on Sunday. The final race provided an extra challenge for the drivers as the event got underway as the light faded, eventually being finished in the dark! Finishing runner-up in both events, Francis and the U-Drive Formula Ford took second overall from the weekend to trail weekend winner Sonic Motorsport's Tony Pugliese in the championship chase.
Having qualified third, Francis made a poor start in the first race, dropping to fourth place off the line behind Glen Hastings, Pugliese and young local Ian Dyke. Sweeping around the outside of Turn 2 allowed the Queenslander to regain third place, and was soon challenging Hastings, who had dropped behind his team mate. It took a couple of laps before Francis could get a run on Hastings coming onto the front straight, and the power of his Larner Engine swept him past going into the quick Turn 1. By this stage Pugliese had made a break, and try as he might, Francis couldn't catch the quick Victorian, and they went on to finish in this order. <Race 1 Results here>
The second race of the weekend began as the sun set over the outer-Sydney circuit, and from the lights Francis was challenging Pugliese for the entire race distance. Many thought that Francis was quick enough to take the lead, however with the light quickly disappearing, a decision was made by race officials to shorten the event by two laps. Although disappointed not to be able to have a further go at taking the race win, Francis agreed it was the right decision by the officials. When asked afterwards what he thought of the race he replied, "Who said that?". <Race 2 Results here>
Brett sums up his weekend:
"We gradually improved the U-Drive Formula Ford all weekend to be the quickest car in the last race. It's unfortunate that the test day we had here was wet, otherwise I might have been quickest from the word go. But it gets my championship chase started. I'll have a fresh Peter Larner Engine for the next round at Winton, and I hope we can build on what we learnt at the track last year."
And what about racing in the dark:
"Le Mans must be a stroll in the park after this - at least you get a car with headlights there! We new it was going to be tricky with the organisers having arranged our race to start 10 minutes before sunset, but they officials did their best to make sure we got a race. Thankfully there weren't any incidents, especially in the last couple of laps, because visibility was virtually nil. If there had been a car or some debris on the track, we wouldn't have known until it was too late. Tony and I could barely make out the chequered flag at the end, let alone anything else. But I will say it was pretty spectacular - the flames and the glowing from Tony's exhaust would have made a great photo!"
The next round of the Ford Racing Formula Ford Championship will be at Winton on May 25.