Joey Foster has won the first race of the 2009 Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship for the CAMS Gold Star after Tim Macrow crashed from the lead two-thirds of the way though the opening race of the Clipsal 500 race weekend.
Macrow, driving the #25 Scud Racing Dallara, made a perfect start and led the field into turn one and pulled away from Foster's Team BRM Dallara in the early laps to assume a lead of just over a second by half race distance.
As the two leaders traded sector times, Macrow ran off line at turn eleven towards the end of the eighth lap and made contact with the wall – ending his storming drive and handing the lead and the subsequent race victory to the Cornish driver.
Foster settled at the end of the race and led home team-mate Mathew Radisich to give Team BRM a 1-2 in front of a massive home-town crowd.
“It is bloody excellent to win here,” Foster grinned after taking an early Gold Star title lead.
“Tim's car was very good in the opening laps but mine was coming on as the race progressed. I'm sure we would have had a fantastic battle for the rest of the race if he had stayed where he was. We had a small steering issue in the opening laps but when I realised it wouldn't get any worse the car just seemed to get better and better as the race went on.”
Macrow's car suffered damage to the rear suspension, front wing and engine mounts despite the relatively light contact with the wall. Despite the rivalry in the paddock, Team BRM has offered the team a replacement engine, gearbox and rear suspension assembly to ensure that the car makes the grid tomorrow, with the team set to work into the night to make the repairs.
“For seven laps we showed where we are at – well and truly a front runner,” Macrow said.
“It's really disappointing that I crashed. I just ran a bit wide and dropped a wheel off and that pulled me off the circuit. The car was fantastic until then but that was as hard as I could drive it.
“BRM have been great to give us the bits we need to get back out tomorrow. It won't be perfect but we'll be there and try to give it the best shot and get some points.”
Mat Radisich scored his career best performance to finish second, sporing new signage from No Fear and DBA on his Dallara this weekend.
A stunning third outright on his F3 debut was Tom Tweedie, who became just the second driver in F3A history to place a National Class car on an outright race podium – Tim Macrow and Karl Reindler, both former champions, having achieved the feat last year.
Tweedie has secured last minute support from Battery World this weekend and welcomed the new sponsor to the sport in the best possible way.
“To be honest, I'm not sure it's sunk in yet!” Tweedie – the youngest driver on the grid this weekend – said.
“The car was fantastic. I got a good start which was pleasing given it was my first in an F3 car. It's just a fantastic result and I'm really happy for the team, especially for Graham (Watson, Ralt team boss) who only got out of hospital this morning.”
A flu-ridden Mat Sofi finished fourth, ahead of Chris Gilmour, Ben Crighton and local lad Jesse Wakeman, whilst Graeme Holmes and Ray Chamberlain were next.