Breakthrough for Sofi as Macrow cuts series lead at Eastern Creek
19/07/2009 at 8:16:16 AM:

LIKE MARK WEBBER one week ago, Sydney driver Mathew Sofi waited until the right moment to ensure that his first win came in appropriate style.

That was the case today at Sydney’s Eastern Creek Raceway as Sofi took his career-first Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship race win, after fifty-one attempts before today failed to bring him to the top step of the podium.

And like former F3-racer Webber, Sofi’s maiden triumph came in stunning fashion as he made a “Perfect” start from second on the grid to dominate race nine of the season, leading championship frontrunners Joey Foster and Tim Macrow to the line.

In race two, Tim Macrow made up for a slow start earlier in the day by launching perfectly to take a light-to-flag win and cut the championship lead from 20 points to just 11 with six races remaining in the 2009 season.

But it was Sofi’s win in race one that stole most of the attention today, the 23-year-old breaking his F3 winning duck in emphatic fashion.

“It’s about time, about time for sure,” Sofi beamed.

“The AmPro Tools car was perfect. Once I got the gap on the first few laps I just tried to be consistent and bring it home. It’s just great and such a relief.

“So much effort has gone into this over the last year and a half. Everyone has just worked so hard to make it happen and I knew we had as good a shot as any this weekend. Huge thanks to Sam (Astuti) and the team, they have been superb,” he said.

“Huge thanks to all my sponsors and supporters this year, and also thanks to the family for their ongoing support; I think it’s even more emotional for them than it is for me!”

Behind Sofi, Joey Foster made a rocketing start from fourth to finish second, fending off both Tim Macrow and Ben Crighton for the duration of the race, the three finishing in close company.

In race two Macrow made a perfect start and, after fending off an early challenge from Sofi’s Dallara, extended his lead to four seconds to take win number four for the season and his 11th career success.

“That (race two) was much better, right from the start,” Macrow said.

“The car was fast in race one but the start cost us track position and it’s very difficult to pass here. We knew we were fast and setting the best lap in race one proved that – so it was nice to get a good jump and go on with it in race two.

“Really, this was the ideal race for us with Joey finishing fourth – it closes the championship right up between us now.”

Foster, who started fourth for both of today’s races, stalled at the beginning of race two and was forced to work his way through the field to finish in the same position he started – scoring the quickest lap and an additional bonus point in the process.

TanderSport driver Ben Crighton was one of the stars of the race, towing up behind Mat Sofi mid-way though before pulling off a daring and on-the-edge turn one pass at 250km/hr, elevating from third to his eventual second-placed finish with one of the best moves of the year to date.

It was Crighton’s career best race result after a weekend that proved the TanderSport Dallara is now a regular contender for the top spots, all weekend long.

In the F3 National Class Tom Tweedie continued his dominating run and further extended his imposing class lead, continuing to niggle the outright frontrunners in his Battery World / Team Tom Dallara.

South Australian driver Jesse Wakeman’s weekend was ruined with fuel-pressure related problems in his Chooks Custom Graphics / Waeco R-Tek Dallara, relegating him to the back of the field in race one and to the garage mid way though race two.

Graeme Holmes and Maher Algadri finished sixth, and seventh respectively in today’s two races.

TanderSport won the Meguiar’s Best Presented award whilst Graeme Holmes won a “supporting” contingency award presented by Team Tom supporters Battery World.

The next round of the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship will be held between August 21 – 23, at Queensland Raceway with the V8 Supercar Championship Series.

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Championship points – after 5 of 8 rounds / 10 of 16 races.

Joey Foster (Team BRM) 165
Tim Macrow (Scud Racing) 154
Mat Sofi (AmPro / Errea / Transwest Astuti Motorsport) 120
Ben Crighton (TanderSport) 114
National Class leader: Tom Tweedie (Team Tom) 169.
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