ROUND 3 - MAY 27 - SYDNEY MOTORSPORT PARK - REPORT
Written by Riccardo Benvenuti.
Cold and sunny conditions greeted the drivers as they came out to qualify at Sydney Motorsport Park. The track was in perfect condition for some extremely fast lap times, and the competitors did not disappoint. A strong field of 18 rolled out onto the track early Saturday morning. It was a varied field that consisted of 13 Radical SR3’s, and a mixture of Radical SR8, Juno, Stohr, Nova and a Wolf. It was the Nova of Alex Kenny that set the best time to claim pole, Justin Tigani in a SR3 was the second fastest. Nick Kelly and Jonathan Canavan shared row 2. Alex Gardner and Sergio Pires occupied row 3. The remainder of the top 10 was Mark Brame, Chris Perini, Terry Knowles and Stephen Shiels.
Alex Kenny made the best start in the first race and was closely followed by Tigani. As the pack rounded turn 2, The unfortunate Canavan stopped by the side of the track, he would be the first to record a DNF. Nick Kelly was putting plenty of pressure on 2nd positioned Tigani. During the 3rd lap Kelly went past to claim that spot. The opportunistic Perini also slipped past Tigani, but it would not last long.
By mid-race distance the order was Alex Kenny in 1st with a large gap to Nick Kelly. Tigani was holding Perini off for 3rd, and just behind them was a dice for 5th that consisted of Brame, Gardner and Pires. Shiels had a small coming together with another competitors at turn 3, this altercation caused the safety car to come out. Unfortunately, Shiels was not able to rejoin and was another DNF. A lap later Paul Palmer’s car also had to retire. The race finished under the safety car and the final order was Alex Kenny 1st, Nick Kelly 2nd and Tigani 3rd. Perini and Pires round out the top 5. Special mention to Pires, finishing in the top 5 after starting from the back of the grid.
Alex Kenny continued his form with another great start for the 2nd race. On the other hand, Nick Kelly had a poor start, finding himself at the rear of the field early on. The initial running was Alex Kenny 1st followed by Tigani, Gardner and Steve Roberts. Nick Kelly was making his way through the field and by lap 3 he was already in 5th position. Terry Knowles and Shiels were having a great dice in mid-pack, as were Breme and Pires. Kelly speed was evident, by lap 4 he was 4th and by lap 7 he was 3rd. Alex Kenny was powering ahead in the lead, before the end of the race he lapped the last positioned car of Warwick Churche. At the end Kenny won comfortably from Tigani and Kelly. Gardner was 4th and Canavan 5th.
For the 3rd and final race only 15 cars rolled out onto the grid.The race was run late Saturday afternoon with shadows covering most of the track. This meant that the track would be fast, however it would take a little longer to warm up the tyres. Perini found out the hard way by spinning his car during the warmup lap. Fortunately, he recovered and was able to rejoin the field. Kenny made another brilliant start while Kelly repeated his bad start as per previous race. Bill Medland and Sue Hughes collided at turn two during the opening lap, both drivers rejoined the race after having lost plenty of time. Up front Kenny continued his march forward keeping Tigani at bay. Gardner, Pires and Perini battled for 3rd position.
Kelly was again making his way through the field, however this time the progress was not as fast as per the previous race. Roberts, Knowles and Shiels drove nose to tail for most of the race. Churcher and Medland also had an interesting dice. Kenny was untouchable, making it three wins from as many starts. Tigani kept him honest all day and came home a well-deserved 2nd. Gardner was the bast of the rest, claiming 3rd spot and final step on the podium. Perini was home in 4th place and Kelly was home in 5th, lamenting a possible missed opportunity. Pires is a driver that is still coming to grips in this Aero reliant formula, showed great speed and race craft to claim 6th place. Canavan finished 7th just ahead of Brame. Roberts and Knowles round out the top 10.