F3 »

Ben Barker wins Australian F3 title by hundredths

British rookie Ben Barker clinched a dramatic Australian F3 title after taking the bonus point for a fastest lap 0.05secs quicker than his main rival.
Ben Barker survived a weekend of almost unparallel drama 'down under' to claim his first international motorsport crown in only his second season of car racing.

With just a single season of Formula Ford in the UK under his belt, the Briton held his nerve in a thrilling triple-header at Sandown Raceway to emerge as winner of the 2010 Kumho Tyres Australian F3 Championship, and the prestigious Australian Drivers Championship's Gold Star, in the closest finish in series history.

Despite holding a eight-point advantage over main rival – and Team BRM team-mate – Mitch Evans, Barker had the disadvantage of never having been to Sandown before, while his opposition was all more familiar with the quick 3.1km circuit. With just two half-hour sessions to get acquainted with the venue, the 19-year old was delighted to eventually be lapping within a couple of tenths of his Kiwi team-mate, but knew that he still needed to step up the pace if he was to secure the title.

A wet-dry shoot-out to determine the top six grid positions provided another test of Barker's resolve as, having made it safely through the first phase of qualifying, he knew the right call on tyres would be crucial.

“I called for slicks as the end of the session would be okay for them,” he revealed, “I ended up fourth fastest with my last lap, but was running first on track and therefore took the chequered flag before everyone else as the circuit continued to dry.”

A slipping clutch at the start of race one on Saturday afternoon saw the Briton lose a couple of places off the line, but he quickly regained them at turn one, only to find championship outsider Tom Tweedie harrying him for the remainder of the race as he benefited from a low-drag aerodynamic set-up. Barker dropped to fifth on the penultimate lap, but again used the opening corner to reclaim his position, running around the outside of Tweedie and securing the inside line for turn two.

With Evans second on the road, the points gap closed slightly, but Barker continued to lead going into race two on Sunday morning. Another bad start, however, appeared to have put his title hopes in jeopardy when another BRM team-mate, Zhang Shan Qi, slammed into the back of the #5 machine entering turn one.

The Chinese driver rode over Barker's rollhoop, having already demolished his rear wing and front suspension, and came close to injuring the Briton after making contact with his crash helmet.

“It was a massive impact, and I was very lucky as one of his wheels scraped my helmet, but, worse than that, I got back to the pits thinking my championship was well and truly over,” Barker admitted, “It was a horrible feeling.”




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Ben Barker celebrates his remarkable Australian F3 Championship success   [pic credit: Nathan Wong/Speedshots.com]
Presentation night for the Australian Formula 3 Championship. Manhatten Bar Launceston. Champion, Chris Gilmour

Round 7  Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship.
Symmons Plains
Tasmania
Australia
Presentation night for the Australian Formula 3 Championship. Manhatten Bar Launceston. Champion, Chris Gilmour

Round 7  Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship.
Symmons Plains
Tasmania
Australia
Presentation night for the Australian Formula 3 Championship. Manhatten Bar Launceston. Champion, Chris Gilmour

Round 7  Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship.
Symmons Plains
Tasmania
Australia
Presentation night for the Australian Formula 3 Championship. Manhatten Bar Launceston. Champion, Chris Gilmour

Round 7  Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship.
Symmons Plains
Tasmania
Australia
Presentation night for the Australian Formula 3 Championship. Manhatten Bar Launceston. Champion, Chris Gilmour

Round 7  Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship.
Symmons Plains
Tasmania
Australia
Presentation night for the Australian Formula 3 Championship. Manhatten Bar Launceston, Steel Guiliana, Forpark Australia scholarship  winner

Round 7  Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship.
Symmons Plains
Tasmania
Australia
Presentation night for the Australian Formula 3 Championship. Manhatten Bar Launceston, Steel Guiliana, Forpark Australia scholarship  winner

Round 7  Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship.
Symmons Plains
Tasmania
Australia
Presentation night for the Australian Formula 3 Championship. Manhatten Bar Launceston, Steel Guiliana, Forpark Australia scholarship  winner

Round 7  Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship.
Symmons Plains
Tasmania
Australia
Presentation night for the Australian Formula 3 Championship. Manhatten Bar Launceston, Steel Guiliana, Forpark Australia scholarship  winner

Round 7  Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship.
Symmons Plains
Tasmania
Australia
Presentation night for the Australian Formula 3 Championship. Manhatten Bar Launceston, Steel Guiliana, Forpark Australia scholarship  winner

Round 7  Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship.
Symmons Plains
Tasmania
Australia
Presentation night for the Australian Formula 3 Championship. Manhatten Bar Launceston

Round 7  Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship.
Symmons Plains
Tasmania
Australia
Presentation night for the Australian Formula 3 Championship. Manhatten Bar Launceston, James Winslow

Round 7  Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship.
Symmons Plains
Tasmania
Australia
Presentation night for the Australian Formula 3 Championship. Manhatten Bar Launceston, James Winslow

Round 7  Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship.
Symmons Plains
Tasmania
Australia
Presentation night for the Australian Formula 3 Championship. Manhatten Bar Launceston, James Winslow

Round 7  Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship.
Symmons Plains
Tasmania
Australia
Presentation night for the Australian Formula 3 Championship. Manhatten Bar Launceston, John Magro

Round 7  Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship.
Symmons Plains
Tasmania
Australia
Presentation night for the Australian Formula 3 Championship. Manhatten Bar Launceston, John Magro

Round 7  Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship.
Symmons Plains
Tasmania
Australia
Presentation night for the Australian Formula 3 Championship. Manhatten Bar Launceston, Steel Guiliana, Forpark Australia scholarship  winner

Round 7  Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship.
Symmons Plains
Tasmania
Australia

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.