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Sager Dominates, But Jones Wins
Posted by: newsla on Dec 12, 2013 - 06:31 AM
Support Series News
Sager Dominates, But Jones Wins

After seven rounds across four states, Minda Motorsport’s defence of their 2012 Australian Formula Ford Championship crown has come to an end, yet despite dominating another round of the season, they fell just short of the mark for 2013, claiming second and fourth in the standings with nine race wins shared between Macauley Jones and Liam Sager.


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With the frustrations of Phillip Island behind them, and the championship already settled for points leader Anton De Pasquale the three Minda drivers arrived at Homebush for the final round of the championship with much of the pressure released.

“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed to have lost the championship at Phillip Island,” Jones admitted, “but by the same token, that was history, it was a matter of regrouping to come out fighting in Sydney, and we did just that. To be honest, the pressure was off by then too, and the championship was over so that wasn’t something I needed to keep in mind, it was all about doing the best job possible in the final event of the year.”

As had been the case during much of the season, the two Minda pilots were quick in opening practice, although the team made some minor changes to the Sager car to extract some more speed ahead of qualifying. The changes clearly worked, with Sager setting the fastest time on his single flying lap ahead of a red flag incident to grab pole.

Unable to extend the session to give those drivers who hadn’t taken the opportunity to complete a quick lap, organisers made allowance for a second session of qualifying first thing Saturday morning where Sager again repeated the dose to claim pole.

Sadly for Jones, he could only manage the eighth fastest time after contact with the turn five wall ended his session prematurely.

“After what happened yesterday, and also at the Gold Coast, I was mindful of recording a strong lap early, just in case the session was cut short, but I pushed too hard too soon and clipped the wall. Damage wasn’t significant, but the session was over for me,” he said.

Whilst the two Minda stars were hard at it at the front of the field, the team’s ‘Rookie of the Year’ contender Jayden Wallis was continuing his learning curve to be just off the tail of the top ten after both sessions, the teenager improving with every lap.

Sager charged off the line in Saturday afternoon’s opening race to record a comfortable victory, in the process setting a new lap record for the category. Despite hanging onto the tail of the leaders, Jones was forced to settle for fourth place, with Wallis continuing his forward charge to be classified eighth.

Race two saw Sager again charge away at the front, but this time new champion De Pasquale moved into the lead for a handful of laps before Sager regained the front running mid-race, Jones too moving up the order to cross the line second, with Wallis an impressive eighth.

“How good’s that,” Sager grinned post-race, “now for the trifecta!”

For the bulk of the final race Sager again held the lead, well clear of team-mate Jones in second, but on the final lap, that dream trifecta came to an end after he clipped the wall at turn five.

“I don’t know what happened,” he explained to team-boss Bruin Beasley. “I was doing it easy, and had no need to push.”

“To be honest, the racer in Liam was probably telling him that the perfect weekend would include pole position, three wins and the lap record, so I think he was just pushing that little bit too hard in the end to regain the lap record he lost in race two,” Beasley observed. “It made no difference to the championship order, because by then he’d sealed second, but it would have been nice for him to win outright after such a strong effort, but in the end we won the round anyway by virtue of Macauley’s consistency.”

Sager’s demise was Jones’ opportunity to add a sixth race win to his season’s tally, and the second-generation racer crossed the line clear ahead of rivals De Pasquale and Sam Power.

“It was a nice way to end the season,” he admitted afterwards. “It has been a tough season with some really strong results, and some not so good results, but they’re all character building. I will look back on this season as a great education that I hope to use as a springboard into the future.”

Whilst both Sager and Jones could celebrate their podium end to the season, Jayden Wallis had plenty to celebrate too after finishing the final race inside the top ten once more, the rookie claiming twelfth place in the championship after a strong close to the season.

For Minda Motorsport’s Bruin Beasley Homebush capped off what had been a tough title defence for the CAMS Rising Star team, where the team fell just short of back-to-back series victories.

“We were right in the box seat to take the title at one point,” he admitted. “But that’s motor racing. On reflection 12 wins for the year was outstanding, and both Liam and Macauley showed just how tough they are as competitors. As a team too we showed again that we have the ability to battle for championships, the boys sharing 12 wins to Sonic’s seven and Synergy’s three.

“Liam’s run at Homebush was exceptional, he was clearly the form driver. I think though his natural ability was a frustration for Macauley who is the consummate professional in every way. He does everything you’d want from a budding young driver. He’s fit, he eats well, he’s a student of the sport and knows his data inside and out, but he eases into his pace which is why at the end of a weekend - especially on a circuit that is new to him - he’s as quick as anyone. Liam on the other hand can’t be bothered to even walk the circuit beforehand, yet he goes out there and just lays down a time that’s difficult to beat, and I think that may have played on Macauley’s mind a few times this weekend, but he’ll work that out, he’s a smart driver.

“And on top of that you have Jayden [Wallis] who did everything we wanted from him this year, and he kept getting faster and faster, and to be able to run consistently inside the top ten at the end of the season, he sets himself up perfectly for a second season in the national championship next year to be able to break into the top five. He’s certainly a star of the future.

“All up it has been another good year for the Minda team, but it is just that - a team - and we couldn’t have done it without the support of all the engineers and crew that work on the cars at the events and behind the scenes away from the circuit, so to them, a big thank you from me. Now it’s on to 2014, but before then, a well deserved rest..!”

Rnd#7 [FINAL] 2013 Australian Formula Ford Championship
Homebush, Sydney, NSW [6-8 December]

Macauley Jones - #14
Minda Motorsport/CAMS Rising Star Mygale SJ13a
Qualifying #1: P5 (1:37.2600) - 0.7755 from P1
Qualifying #2: P8 (1:35.9648) - 1.4060 from P1
Race #1 (10-laps): P4 (fastest lap 1:35.6811)
Race #2 (11-laps): P2 (fastest lap 1:35.2603)
Race #3 (11-laps): P1 (fastest lap 1:34.7975)

Liam Sager - #98
Minda Motorsport/CAMS Rising Star Mygale SJ11a
Qualifying #1: P1 (1:36.4845)
Qualifying #2: P1 (1:34.5588)
Race #1 (10-laps): P1 (fastest lap 1:34.5600)**R
Race #2 (11-laps): P1 (fastest lap 1:34.2997)
Race #3 (11-laps): DNF - 10 laps (fastest lap 1:34.3687)**
** fastest race lap (R - new lap record)

Jayden Wallis - #12
Minda Motorsport Mygale SJ12a
Qualifying #1: P11 (1:38.3079) - 1.8234 from P1
Qualifying #2: P13 (1:37.6204) - 3.0616 from P1
Race #1 (10-laps): P8 (fastest lap 1:36.1573)
Race #2 (11-laps): P8 (fastest lap 1:35.1520)
Race #3 (11-laps): P10 (fastest lap 1:35.9283)

Australian Formula Ford Championship
(points after round seven of seven)
1. Anton De Pasquale - 326 points
2. Liam Sager (Minda Motorsport/CAMS Rising Stars) - 266
3. Sam Power - 265
4. Macauley Jones (Minda Motorsport/CAMS Rising Stars) - 261
5. Simon Hodge - 152
6. Jordan Lloyd* - 132
7. Tom Randle* - 131
8. Luke Marquis* - 128
9. Matt Campbell* - 67
10. James Golding* - 63
11. Ash Quiddington - 62
12. Jayden Wallis* (Minda Motorsport/CAMS Rising Stars) - 51
* rookie

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