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Hodge Works Hard For City of Darwin Cup Win
Posted by: newsla on Jun 22, 2014 - 06:05 AM
Support Series News
Hodge Works Hard For City of Darwin Cup Win

SIMON HODGE will leave Darwin with fond memories after clinching the prestigious City of Darwin Cup trophy today with his round four victory in the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship.


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It will never be described as easy, but Hodge stamped his mark on the top end on Sunday, taking race two and the 14-lap feature race to rocket to a 15-point championship lead at the half-way point of the year.

Hodge was slow away in the Darwin feature and had to fight his way to the front for the third time in three races; his title rival Ben Gersekowski making the best start and rocketing to an early lead.

The McDonald’s Gilmour Racing driver held on at the front for three laps before Hodge launched a bold move down the inside for the lead at turn one. Once in font, the bright blue Team BRM Mygale was never headed.

Hodge becomes the first two-time round winner this season and, for the fourth time in four rounds, only one driver won the three races contested.

“It’s one that we wanted,” Hodge said.

“We have worked very, very hard this weekend to make it happen. To come away with the result that we were hoping for is fantastic.

“It’s our Achilles heel. It’s something we’ve highlighted as a weakness and something we need to work on going forward. The pace in the car is very, very good and that’s been the saving grace this weekend.

“The championship is that close that you can’t afford to have a weakness like that, so it’s high on the agenda to fix for the rounds coming.

“It’s inevitable when you’re racing in a field like this with guys like Ben and Chris, you’re going to have to work for it. It’s not always just going to fall your way. It’s great to have the battles – we expect it – but it’s nice to come out on top.

"Racing in Darwin has been fantastic, it’s everything that people say it is. A great event and a great weekend.”

Hodge now leads Gersekowski in the championship by 15 points, the McDonald’s Gilmour Racing driver recovering from his Friday dramas to score solid points in Darwin this weekend.

“After what happened Friday, we were hoping just to get points up so what happened in the main race was fantastic,” Gersekowski said.

“I was focusing on the start for that race. I had to push around turn one to make sure I was in the lead and I tried fighting off Simon for as long as I could but it was a case of when, not if, he got past because he was really quick.

“We’re at our home round next time out so I’m really looking forward to Queensland Raceway.”

Bathurst winner Chris Anthony fought his way to third place after running off the road on the opening lap of the race.

Anthony and front-row starter Garnet Patterson both made brilliant starts and duelled for second place on the opening lap, Anthony attacking at turn four as the field ran into the Hidden Valley complex.

The pair entered the turn side-by-side, Patterson forced wide and Anthony running off the circuit altogether and dropping to seventh place - forcing a comeback drive that saw him pass Dennie Rumble for sixth on lap two, Ricky Capo on lap three, Patterson for fourth on lap seven before eventually climbing to third on lap twelve when he passed Arrie Maree.

Anthony holds third in the championship, 17 points behind Gersekowski.

Garnet Patterson finished the City of Darwin Cup race in fifth place but jumped to the lead in the Forpark Australia National Class in the process.

The New South Wales driver led each of the races this weekend and showed himself as a true contender for outright results for the first time this season.

“With (Chelsea Angelo) not being here, it was our aim to capitalise on the weekend and get the points for the National Class, but we wanted to show that we can run at the front of the championship class as well.

“I was a bit disappointed with the main race because I got hung out to dry and went from second to fifth, but that’s life and in the end it was a great weekend.

“We’ve been struggling big time up until this round. The testing that we’ve done helped us big time.”

Arrie Maree posted his most competitive showing of the season today, holding third for much of the race before the flying Anthony hunted him down and passed him for the final podium spot in the closing laps.

Behind Patterson, Ricky Capo, Dennie Rumble, Roland Legge and Roman Krumins completed the City of Darwin Cup race finishers.

The next round of the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship will see the series rejoin the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals at Queensland Raceway this August.

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