FORMULA 3 CHAMPIONSHIP – ROUND 2 SHANNONS NATIONALS PHILLIP ISLAND
FORMULA 3 CHAMPIONSHIP – ROUND 2 SHANNONS NATIONALS PHILLIP ISLAND May 27 – 29 was the 2nd Round of the Australian Formula 3 Championship with the Shannons Nationals at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, Victoria. DAY 1 – Friday’s Practice Sessions were rather frustrating with the weathers changeable conditions. The track was neither completely wet nor dry; with half the track wet and the other half drying. With each session the conditions were different making the car setup a bit of a gamble, it was good to get practice in the damp conditions on the slicks. This weather was the forecast for the weekend. DAY 2 – Phillips Island turned on its typical weather, changing between raining and sunny with a blink of an eye throughout the whole day. Qualify and Race 1:QUALIFY; started out wet then cleared, I went out on the wets for the start then coming in 2 laps later for slicks, which were quicker in the changing conditions. My times put me on the front row in second position, just missing out on pole position by three tenths of a second from Tim Macrow. RACE 1; with the uncertain weather conditions it was anyone’s guess to what we would encounter out on track. Going out for our formation and warm up lap before the start of the race, it started drizzling with rain but cleared 2 laps into the race. Intermittent rain at the back half of the track kept that area quite wet and the other parts were damp, bringing the safety car out for the first of several times over the weekend. Macrow and I were in a hard fought battle the entire race, resulting me coming home in 2nd place just behind Macrow. I got the fastest lap time of the race. During the race I struggled with massive understeer and tyre graining, Phillip Island is notoriously hard on tyres and the car set up was not working. The tyres had sideways graining on the right hand side of the car.
DAY 3 – Race 2 and Race 3: RACE 2; after morning showers our race was dry, it was a reverse grid of the top 4, placing me off 4th and Macrow in 3rd, I got a flying start and getting into the lead by the 2nd corner and managed to get away from pack with a good lead, the tyres were so bad from the first race and the understeer continued that I couldn’t push any faster, the tyres just went away. I was a sitting duck and Macrow was able to pass me in the final laps of the race, even with a safety car I couldn’t do any better than 2nd. My front tyres were that bad they were deemed unsafe for me to continue to race on and I had to use my old practice tyres for the final race. RACE 3; my engineer, Matt, made changes to the car and it was the best the car had been all weekend, even with the old tyres on. I started from p2, the safety car made it final appearance and it was another hard battle with Macrow, with me finishing in 2nd, giving me 2nd overall for the weekend. A special thank you to Atlantic Oil for my branded team shirt which has all my sponsor’s logos. They look smart (as you can see me wearing in the photo) Roger has been really great in supporting and promoting me. Again I want to say a big thank you to my sponsors whom, with their support, has made it possible for me to continue racing – Atlantic Oil, Mark Ward McDonalds Toowoomba, Beko, Betta Home Living, Alan Dodd, Cooma Catering, Mitre 10 Cooma, Anytime Fitness Cooma and Hazeldean.
Don’t for get to watch Speed Week TV on SBS for my interview. It will air in June, keep an eye on my Facebook page for the date. On my website is a link to the Shannons National TV Sandown coverage. I’m looking forward to Round 3 at Winton Raceway on 10 – 12 June.