PERTH'S AARON CARATTI THE ONE TO BEAT AT BARBAGALLO RACEWAY Given Aaron Caratti's performance in the third round of Carrera Cup Australia, he would be the favourite no matter where Round Four of the championship was being held. But ...
PERTH'S AARON CARATTI THE ONE TO BEAT AT BARBAGALLO RACEWAY
Given Aaron Caratti's performance in the third round of Carrera Cup Australia, he would be the favourite no matter where Round Four of the championship was being held.
But considering the event is at Perth's Barbagallo Raceway -- Caratti's home track -- he is going to prove hard to beat when the championship heads there for the BigPond 400 this weekend.
Caratti was unstoppable at the previous round at Wakefield Park, Goulburn, as the Parklands on Bertram racer led every lap of every race to record a hat-trick of race wins.
The result rocketed him into third position on the Carrera Cup championship ladder behind fellow West Australian Dean Fiore (Complispace/Advance Energy) and Queensland based Kiwi Craig Baird (ACER/Leading Solutions) who are tied at the top of the table.
But even though he is in sensational form -- and the fact he tested at Barbagallo Raceway last week -- Caratti is under no illusions as to how difficult the upcoming round will be.
"There were a few people testing at Barbagallo last week and all the times were really close so it won't be an easy weekend," he said.
"With everyone being so close, qualifying is going to come down to one-tenth of a second. Because of that you have to make sure everything is right on the day but I'm confident I can put a good lap together when needed."
Since Caratti has taken pole position in both of the previous rounds he has the qualifying form on the board, but Fiore is one driver intent on not letting his fellow Sandgroper have it all his own way.
"My car has had a bit of a freshen up since Wakefield Park so it will be primed to go," he said.
"We've come a long way since last year and I'm starting to string together the consistent performances I need. Now when I go into a race weekend I'm focussing on how I can win it rather than just thinking about keeping on the pace."
Adelaide's Bryce Washington (ADRAD) has been on the pace recently but he is returning to a track which holds mixed memories for him.
"Until last season Barbagallo was my best ever Carrera Cup qualifying result so I have performed here in the past, but in 2004 I had a massive crash here when I was racing Formula Ford," he said.
"This is one place which I think is going to be pretty difficult, purely because of Aaron and Dean knowing the track so well but my car is feeling better since Wakefield Park so I'm confident I can do the job."
Barton Mawer (No Fear) was one driver to the job at Wakefield Park -- his sixth overall being his best ever Carrera Cup finish -- and the Carrera Cup rookie is looking for more of the same.
The Sydneysider is leading the Michelin Rookie of the Year title and with mining and construction products and services company Jeminex on board for Barbagallo, he's keen for a similar result to the previous round.
"After the last round I'm feeling really confident but the great thing about Carrera Cup is that it's a fresh weekend every round," he said.
"We're in the ball park of where we were hoping to be at this stage of the year. There has been a lot of positive progress made and as long as we keep getting better I'll be happy."
Shannon's Insurance driver David Wall hasn't had a happy two rounds, but is hoping his luck will change in Perth.
With touring car legend Jim Richards in his team Wall won't be down for long and is hoping the break between rounds will have turned his season around.
"Hopefully our luck will turn for us, it can't get any worse," he said.
"Clipsal was a good start to the year but since Melbourne our luck has been pretty bad.
"The car has been good and the team has been good, it's just our luck which hasn't been.
"We've still got a few rounds to go so it's not panic stations yet. If we can turn things around in Perth it will be the perfect lead in to the rest of the season."
Carrera Cup Australia takes to the track on Friday with two practice sessions, before qualifying and Race One on Saturday.
Races Two and Three on Sunday complete the round, with the first and last races televised nationally on Channel 7.