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'Critical' Darwin Round Key To Gold Star Title Hopes
Posted by: newsla on Jun 18, 2014 - 06:56 AM
Support Series News
'Critical' Darwin Round Key To Gold Star Title Hopes

A CRITICAL fourth round of the 2014 Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship will turn up the heat at Hidden Valley Raceway in Darwin this weekend.


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The fourth running of the City of Darwin Cup could be the most critical race of the championship this year as three drivers fight to establish some form of supremacy at the pointy end of the Australian Drivers Championship Gold Star standings.

Three different young stars of the sport have won the opening three rounds of the championship and as the series gets to its half-way point this weekend, neither have been able to score an advantage.

Simon Hodge (Team BRM Mygale), Ben Gersekowski (McDonald’s Gilmour Racing Dallara) and Chris Anthony (Team BRM Dallara) have been the form drivers this year and got the major trophies at the Clipsal 500, Sandown and Bathurst, respectively.

The feeling amongst all three is that a handy half-way points margin in the Gold Star fight will go a long way to getting the championship at the end of the year.

“It’s a key round, that’s for sure,” round one winner Simon Hodge said.
Hodge won in Adelaide, and third at Sandown and Bathurst – but also emphasised his incredible pace on the Mountain when he set a stunning new outright lap record at the famous circuit.

He trails championship leader Ben Gersekowski by just one solitary point after the three rounds and eight races held so far.

“It’s been very competitive between the three of us at the front of the grid this year and we’ve each had a round win. At the same time, no one has been able to get a massive break in the championship which means one or two race wins in a row, and you can change the way the championship looks very quickly.”

All three contenders have tested their respective cars recently, Hodge indicating that he had unlocked more potential in his Mygale M11 – the same car that won in Darwin twelve months ago with Nick Foster behind the wheel.

“We’ve developed a car a lot since last year, but it’s nice to know that you have the car that won the City of Darwin Cup last year,” he said.

“Clearly it’s a very good car and it suits Hidden Valley really well, so that gives us a lot of confidence going into what will be a very tough weekend.

“It’s going to be one of those seasons where every race and every point is critical so we want to make sure we maximise every session and get the most out of it.

“At the same time, we’re all really looking forward to Darwin. The event has an incredible reputation for producing great F3 racing, so I think we’ll put on a show.”

One driver looking to upset the applecart of the leading trio of the year so far is Mackay driver Arrie Maree.

The Forpark Harvest Motorsport Mygale pilot has been knocking on the door of the podium spots this year and finished fourth at Mount Panorama’s third round of the championship.

Maree also has something extra up his sleeve; he won the same round in the national class (for older model cars) last year and as such carries strong momentum back to his Darwin return.

Meanwhile, Melbourne-based F3 rookie Ricky Capo will make his first visit to Hidden Valley looking to rebound after a challenging round at Mount Panorama at Easter. Capo was ruled out of competing on the famous Mountain after an accident in qualifying damaged his car beyond immediate repair.

The former Karting champion has however shown prodigious pace this year and qualified on the front row at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide on his F3 debut.

2014 marks the fourth time that the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship will have visited the Northern Territory, three different drivers having tasted success in Darwin across the previous three visits.

Kristian Lindbom (2011), John Magro (2012) and last year’s winner Nick Foster have each tasted victory in Darwin while James Winslow (2011), Chris Gilmour (2012) and Foster are the three drivers to have scored a valuable Darwin pole position.

The addition of a new control Kumho Tyre and ongoing development in cars this year is also set to help lower the Formula 3 lap record at Hidden Valley, Nick Foster’s qualifying (1m04.75s) and race (1m05.26s) benchmarks set last year a clear target for the field this weekend.

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