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Oz: Clean sweep for Evans at Phillip Island
2 May 2010
Mitch Evans has survived just about everything the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship could throw at him, including three-wide racing and the rain, to take a clean sweep at Phillip Island this weekend.
Evans went from third to first in one corner in the second, 10-lap sprint race on Sunday morning during some exciting racing to win the race and secure pole position for the 18-lap feature.
The 15-year-old New Zealander then went on to crush the field by 10 seconds, though it took a drive-through penalty for early leader Ben Barker (for rolling at the start) to elevate him to a lead he would never lose.
Barker flew to an early lead and matched Evans for pace before receiving the penalty after rolling before the green light.
Evans has now won all six races he has started this season and – despite missing round two – sits just eight points behind championship leader Tom Tweedie as the Gold Star approaches its half way point at Mallala in a month's time.
Whilst he dominated the main race intense racing in the early laps of all three events this weekend indicate that whilst Evans has dominated, he rivals won't be lying down in the fight for this year's Gold Star.
“Given we missed round two this is the weekend we were looking for,” Evans said. “There was some fantastic racing all weekend and we really had to work for it. We made a big move in race two and I wasn't sure if going three wide into the hairpin would work – but I was able to go around the outside and get the lead.
“The long race was good, the car was very consistent and we were able to build a margin and be very consistent. It's good for our championship but I think it will be very competitive for the rest of the year.”
Tom Tweedie was in the thick of the action all weekend and espite being shuffled from the lead to third, and then spinning, in the wet weather sprint race this morning he was able to piece together a strong erformance in the feature to maintain his championship lead.
At a circuit heavily favouring the F307 Dallaras, Tweedie said this weekend was a case of 'mission accomplished'.
“We came here with the aim of finishing in the top three in each race and maintaining our points lead,” he said. “We didn't have a brilliant sprint race this (Sunday) morning but we still have the lead and we think we will be very competitive at Mallala. Overall it's been a good weekend.”
Ben Crighton was another to work his way through the field to mount a strong challenge in the main race, scoring his second podium finish in as many rounds and lifting himself to fourth in the standings driving his all-black TanderSport machine.
Chris Gilmour finished fourth, but was another to mix it up with the leading group in the early laps of each race today. A locked brake early in the feature cost him time and position, shuffling him back to sixth before he caught and passed Kristian Lindbom at turn one to gain ground.
Lindbom was at his racy best all weekend and, whilst he lacked the raw speed to challenge for wins this weekend, managed to get himself in the thick of the action once again en route to fifth.
Zhang Shan Qi was the big improver of the weekend and scored a solid sixth. Tom Drewer was seventh, surviving a spin and a flat-spotted front tyre, to finish his first F3 weekend strongly. Roman Krumins was the last to the flag in the main race as Graeme Holmes and Ben Barker failed to finish.
Barker and Holmes made contact at turn four whilst the British driver charged through the field after serving his penalty. Whilst Barker moved down the inside, he and Holmes collected, damaging the suspension of both cars and leaving the front-row starter a disappointed onlooker, stranded in the hairpin grass and with no points.
The next stop for the championship is South Australia's Mallala Raceway, on May 28-30.
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