Mitch Evans has swept to his fourth win from four race starts in this years Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship today at Phillip Island - but he had to work for it.
Evans started from pole for today's 10-lapper but was beaten off the line by Tom Tweedie, who took the lead into turn one.
Behind them Chris Gilmour held off a fast starting Ben Barker through turns one and two before the British driver ran wide at the Hairpin, costing him track position but no places.
Up front Evans closed on Tweedie at the end of lap one, running side-by-side with the championship leader into turn one before being forced to cede the corner to his rival as they battled at 255km/hr. Evans then got a good run out of turn two and slipped around the outside of tweedie in a braking duel into the hairpin just moments later to take a race lead he would never lose.
Tweedie finished second, some 5-seconds behind whilst Barker battled his way past Gilmour on lap five and finished third – just missing out on second place after a mistake on the penultimate lap cost him an opportunity to tow up behind Tweedie.
Evans' win closed him to within two points of Ben Barker for third in the championship whilst Tweedie actually extended his margin ahead of tomorrow's two races.
“The track was pretty dirty and I tried to get as much heat into my tyres as possible but I got wheel spin off the start,” Evans said after his win.
“That was the result we were looking for coming into the weekend. We had good car speed and I was able to get past Tom and build a lead. I thought we would struggle for straight line speed here compared to the '04 car but we didn't and I was able to get the slipstream really well.
“I then got a good run out of turn two and out-braked him into the hairpin.”
Tweedie was pleased with second and said that he had achieved one of his aims set out prior to the weekend.
“We wanted to be in the top three here in every race, so that's one down – two to go,” he said.
“I got a great start and just put my head down and went for it. I was hoping that the others would make life a bit more difficult for Mitch but he was super quick and has a good car out of the corners, which is where |the '07s are strong.
“It was a good race for us and hopefully we can go on with it tomorrow. It's actually extended our championship lead which is handy, but I think it will all bunch up as the weekend goes on.”