AARON CARATTI has scythed Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship series leader Michael Trimble’s points lead in half at Queensland Raceway this weekend, taking a pair of pole positions to set himself up in the best possible position to have a shot at regaining the points lead he lost at Phillip Island.
In perfect sunny conditions, 13 cars took to the 3.12 km Queensland Raceway circuit for Qualifying, producing one of the most memorable sessions of the season Saturday morning to set the grid for the first race that makes up this weekend’s halfway point of the exceedingly competitive F3 championship.
Qualifying one saw five drivers take a turn at the top of the charts, Caratti, Tim Macrow (NGK Dallara F301 Speiss), Sam Abay (Astuti Motorsport Dallara F304 Renault Sodemo) and Michael Trimble (team BRM Dallara F304 Speiss) all staking their claim at the top of the time sheets. After holding second for a majority of the session, it was Aaron Caratti that took the eventual pole, pipping Macrow by a stunning 0.01 of a second in the last three minutes of what was a highly exciting session.
Sam Abay was third; an impressive performance considering this round only marks the 3rd F3 start for the young Victorian speedster, as well as it being the first outing for Astuti Motorsports’ brand new Ex-Italian F3 Dallara. Series leader Michael Trimble shadowed Abay for 4th place, Alajajian was fifth whilst local hope Chris Gilmour’s Dallara F301 rounded out the top six – the six covered by an astounding .64 of a second after an intense competition.
F3 rookie Nathan Caratti took the second of the insight cars to a solid 7th place, one position ahead of Bevan Carrick who made a solid debut in his brand new Cooltemp F304 Dallara. 16-year-old Kiwi Marc Williams topped Trophy Class ahead of Bill Maddocks and Lauren Grey.
Caratti backed up his Q1 time with a just as impressive lap in the second session, taking pole position by .2 of a second again over Tim Macrow, who ran into tyre wear issues as the session progressed that stopped him from setting a quicker time.
Trimble improved one position to be third for Race 2, the young Victorian confident that the car has the pace to lead the field over a 17-lap race distance. Chris Gilmour was the big improver in the second session, moving up two positions to take a strong 4th position, a result that no doubt pleased the Queenslander at his home track. Gilmour looks to have a strong racecar, and is set to be in a good frame of mind for racing – apparently heading off to the coast after the second session for a spot of relaxing fishing.
Alajajian scored another fifth place, Scott Anderson’s Protechinca outfit stuggling to come to terms with the optimum set-up for a Formula 3 car after years of experience with Subaru Production Cars.
Abay endured fuel pressure problems in the Astuti Dallara to finish 6th, lapping ahead of Caratti, Williams, Carrick and Maddocks to round out the top ten – Williams posting one of his most competitive performances to date.
The scene is set for an exceedingly competitive half way round of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship, with a close field and perfect conditions at Queensland Raceway today.
And, there are only two points in it…
Full session results can be found at Natsoft: http://www.natsoft.com.au/cgi-bin/results.cgi?03/07/2005.QR1