All squared up at QR as Macrow and Foster take top spots again
24/08/2009 at 12:31:07 AM:

AS IT HAS BEEN all season long, Joey Foster (team BRM) and Tim Macrow (Scud Racing) have again shown the way to the front of the Formula 3 Australian driver’s Championship in Qualifying today at Queensland Raceway.

Foster banged in a stunning 1m06.0266s lap – a qualifying record for a Formula 3 car at QR – in qualifying one whilst Macrow struck back later in the afternoon to swap the front row order for tomorrow’s second race.

It was the sixth Yorkshire Investments pole award for each driver this season and means that the leading pair in the points have now locked out the front row of the grid in half of the qualifying sessions contested to date.

It also means the point margin between the two is maintained at 11 as the tense battle for the CAMS Gold Star award comes towards its exciting conclusion.

“I’m really pleased with qualifying one,” Foster said.

“The car went very well and we had good pace. It felt the best it’s been all weekend and it’s really good to knock out that time and have that margin to Tim and the others. We’re feeling pretty happy with how it’s going so far so it should be good tomorrow.”

Macrow said he, in turn, was pleased with how his team bounced back in the second session.

“We turned it around well. We ended up doing the same time as we did in the first session whilst everyone else went slower so I’m happy that we have made some gains,” he said.

“I got a good couple of laps and was able to jump to the top towards the end of the session so it’s a good turnaround.

Mat Sofi bounced back to qualify third for both races despite breaking a suspension component in session two sent his car off the circuit at turn one – a corner taken nearly flat in 5th gear. The AmPro tools car emerged unscathed.

TanderSport driver Ben Crighton will start fourth twice tomorrow but the feature of today’s action was the intense fight for the F3 National class between a trio of very evenly matched drivers.

Whilst reigning class champion Chris Gilmour topped current class leader Tom Tweedie by just one tenth in qualifying one, it was the second session that raised eyebrows around the F3 paddock – 16 year old Rio Haryanto stunning them all to qualify fifth outright and set Gilmour and Tweedie back on the grid.

Four cars – including fourth placed Crighton – were split by just four tenths of a second in the second session to set up an exciting dice for class honors tomorrow.

PHR driver Haryanto, who is this year racing in the Formula BMW Asia series, showed his class despite this being his first ever round in an F3 car.

“I am enjoying it so far,” Rio said.

“It is a nice experience and it is good to get some experience in a Formula 3 car. I am learning a lot about the car and the track and it is good fun.”

An unfortunate withdrawal for the remainder of the weekend is the #96 Scarborough Holiday Parks entry of Blake Varney, who only found out he had a drive the day before this round kicked off.

His Renault-powered Dallara broke an input shaft in the second session today and will set him out for the remainder of the weekend.

Two, 12-lap races will make up round six of the Formula 3 Australian Driver’s Championship for the CAMS Gold Star award, as part of the Queensland 300 V8 Supercar round.

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Qualifying 1
Joey Foster (B Confidential / Team BRM) 1:06.0266
Tim Macrow (Scud Racing) + 0.4253
Mathew Sofi (AmPro / Errea / Transwest) + 0.6800
Ben Crighton (TanderSport) + 1.3478
Chris Gilmour (Gilmour Racing) + 1.6353
Tom Tweedie (Team Tom / Battery World) + 1.7646
Rio Haryanto (PHR Scuderia) + 2.2424
Andrew Mill (Scarborough Holiday Parks) 2.7452

Qualifying 2
1. Tim Macrow (Scud Racing) 1:06.5699
2. Joey Foster (B Confidential / Scud Racing) + 0.1507
3. Mathew Sofi (AmPro / Errea / Transwest) + 0.4629
4. Ben Crighton (TanderSport) + 1.2618
5. Rio Haryanto (PHR Scuderia) + 1.3206
6. Tom Tweedie (Team Tom / Battery World) +1.4471
7. Chris Gilmour (Gilmour Racing) + 1.6091
8. Bevan Carrick (Cooltemp Racing) + 2.4535
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