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Feb 27, 2014 - 05:46 PM
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Hodge On Record Pace During Clipsal 500 Practice
Posted by: newsla on Feb 27, 2014 - 05:43 PM
Sports Cars
Hodge On Record Pace During Clipsal 500 Practice


IT Might be his first crack at the famous Clipsal 500 Adelaide Parklands Circuit, but hometown hero Simon Hodge certainly didn’t take long to come to grips with Adelaide’s City streets today.

 

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The 20-year-old Team BRM driver, who lives in the nearby suburb of Mitcham, dominated both 20-minute practice sessions contested by the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship today in perfect warm conditions, ending the day a full 1.1 seconds quicker than John Magro.

Hodge was the first – and only – driver into the 1m20s in the opening session and then went even faster again when he posted a 1m18.8165s flyer in practice two; just two tenths off the outright circuit record.

Kiwi star Earl Bamber holds the outright event lap record at 1m18.60s however the addition of new cars, a competitive field, a wider front Kumho control tyre (offering more grip) and perfect conditions forecast should see that mark smashed in race one tomorrow.

His Mygale M11 thus ended a dominant day looking to continue the form into tomorrow’s qualifying and opening 12-lap race; and the first valuable points of the season.

“It’s a whole lot of hard work over the off season that seems to be paying dividends for us at the moment,” Hodge explained after his pacey run this afternoon.

“But in saying that it’s all relative – it’s only practice today so that’s all that matters. The other end of weekend is where the points are at and that’s what we’re looking at. This weekend is the first round of a relatively long championship eyes on the end game rather than the short term.

“I was surprised to end up quickest, especially against the experience of guys like John (Magro) and Ben (Gersekowski): I expect them to be keeping me on my toes all weekend.”

Hodge says the pace today was a surprise – and that it could get better.

“Certainly it crossed my mind once or twice that a lap record could be available this weekend,” He grinned.

“We had no idea what the times were going to be like, with the track condition, the new Kumho tyre we didn’t know what to expect. Conditions were about as perfect as you can get, so it call came together and hopefully it does tomorrow.”

Hodge’s teammate John Magro was second in his F307 Dallara, an older car than the Mygale that ended the day on top but still quicker than other key contenders.

With his new Mygale set to be on track for round two – it’s completion was delayed ahead of its intended debut this weekend – The Queenslander is in consolidation mode this weekend and wants a solid points haul before he attacks later in the season.

Forpark Harvest Motorsport driver Arrie Marre ended the day third, just 0.2s behind Magro and only 0.4s quicker than McDonald’s Gilmour Racing driver, Ben Gersekowski.

Times were close throughout the field with four of the 2013 rookie class – Chris Anthony, Chelsea Angelo, Garnet Patterson and Ricky Capo – all covered by just 0.8 seconds in their respective Dallara’s.

Cooma driver Anthony was impressive on his street circuit debut and lapped within 0.5s of fourth-placed Gersekowski, whilst the performances from Angelo and Capo were impressive given they each missed the opening session entirely.

Angelo made contact with the unforgiving Adelaide walls at turn eleven on her first lap in practice one, damaging the left front corner of her OzStaff Racing Dallara.

The car was quickly repaired and the 17-year-old Victorian was able to complete 14 laps in the second session to get her back on track ahead of qualifying tomorrow.

Capo’s Mugen Honda Dallara failed to fire in practice one, however after a brief delay at the start of the second practice session also rejoined the circuit, completing 10 tours of the 2.2km circuit to end the day just 0.01s behind fellow rookie Garnet Patterson.

Jon Collins was plagued by braking issues in his No. 7 entry, electrical dramas sidelined F3 rookie Dennie Rumble in practice one before they were rectified, whilst 16-year-old Queenslander Roland Legge completed his first ever day car racing in 11th.

The Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship will contest qualifying and their first race tomorrow at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide.


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