Tim Macrow got a year older this week, but the additional age has not slowed the blistering speed that he has always shown in the F3 Australian Drivers Championship for the CAMS Gold Star.
After taking Scud Racing's first ever outright race win three weeks ago at Wakefield Park, Macrow returned to the track and claimed a pair of pole positions - also a team first – at Phillip Island after two hotly-contested qualifying sessions.
The pole double give Macrow eleven for his career - the most in recent F3 history - and adds two championship points to his seasonal tally, as well as an impressive $400 to his wallet thanks to the pole award incentives of series sponsor Yorkshire Investments. Understandably pleased, Macrow said the PI results were the result of a lot of work by the close-knit Scud team.
“It is a fantastic result for the team – everyone has worked very hard and things are going well,” he said, “We made some changes to the car that worked really well, but the most important thing is that we have excellent cold tyre pace. I'm feeling pretty confident about tomorrow. This car was very fast here last year and since then we have made a lot of ground so its a case of 'so far, so good'.”
Qualifying one was a rain-shortened affair with the usual F3 damp stopping action with five minutes remaining in the session. While Macrow was on top at the time the rain came, Mat Sofi will line his AmPro Tools Dallara up second for race one, with Leanne Tander's stunning return to F3 continuing with third outright in a National Class car. Championship leader Joey Foster, meanwhile, could do no better than fourth, nearly a second off the pace, after being unable to better his time when the rain fell.
Qualifying two was more competitive with the top spot changing hands on multiple occasions. Macrow leapt to the top spot with two minutes left in the session to take his second pole of the day but, earlier on, both Sofi and Tander had – if briefly – taken turns at holding provisional top spot. Sofi was the unfortunate driver to be 'bumped' to second, with Foster jumping to third.
A top three start was an improvement for the Team BRM driver, the man from Cornwall hoping to use the formidable record held by 'international' drivers at Phillip Island – they have won eight of the last twelve races here – to help build his championship advantage.
A late-session tow from team-mate - and owner - Tander saw Ben Crighton leap to a career-best fourth place after the flag had flown – ironically knocking his boss down a spot in the process.
With Tom Tweedie, the National Class points leader, next the top six cars were covered by less than one second with plenty of action and close racing the potential for Sunday.