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Jul 30, 2013

QUEENSLANDER KEEN FOR WINS ON HOME TURF

THE MOST OPEN Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship in years will head to Queensland this week with three drivers looking to find consistent momentum for a title charge – and two seeking breakthrough wins to get their title hopes on track.

Four drivers have won the first four rounds of the season and predictably sit first through fourth in the Gold Star standings as a result.

John Magro (2nd), Nick Foster (3rd) and Nathan Morcom (4th) have each scored a feature race win this year but consistency has been lacking in their respective title charges – allowing Macrow to build a 13-point lead as the season enters its second half.

Two drivers with race-winning pace have yet to trouble the scorers, but see Queensland Raceway as the best opportunity to break their respective 2013 ducks: One is Team BRM’s Jordan Oon, and the other local hope, Ben Gersekowski.

With new support from McDonald’s on his Gilmour Racing Dallara, the 21-year-old from Cecil Plains (near Toowoomba) has climbed the standings recently and broke through for his maiden podium finish in Darwin, before backing that up with a solid fourth place finish in Sydney, recently.

With plenty of local knowledge under his belt, Gersekowski – now in his third year of Formula 3 - says he’s ready to try and take things further this weekend.

“Every time we go out we get closer to the likes of Tim and Nick, and we’re building up every round,” Gersekowski said.

“It’s always been my ambition to compete with the best and this year I’m racing against the best open-wheel drivers in the country, so it’s a huge challenge.

“We’ve got that first podium out of the way, so the next target is the next two steps of the podium.”

Working with 2011 F3 champion Chris Gilmour has been a bonus for Gersekowski this season, Australia’s most experienced F3 driver able to impart all of his 140 starts worth of experience into his teams’ young charger this year.

“I’ve been on the phone to Chris after every session this year, getting his thoughts and experience to improve what we’re doing,” he explained.

“He’s been a big help, and working with (team owner) Errol Gilmour on the car setup has been great too. We’re improving each session which is the key thing to do.”

One of several drivers in the field that calls the Sunshine state home, Ben says there’s nothing quite like having a ‘home’ round of the championship.

“There’s nothing better than racing during the day and going home to sleep in your own bed. I really like Queensland Raceway – it’s a technical circuit and it’s not easy to get it right, so it’s a good challenge for us.

“But it’s nice to have the local knowledge and try to use that to our advantage across the weekend.”

Oon, meanwhile, will jet back to Australia this week having raced in the most recent round of the British F3 International series at the famous Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium last weekend.

The Perth driver scored a second-place result in the British F3 National Class at the world famous circuit – using a similar specification Dallara that he races in Australia. The added experience is sure to help this weekend.

Consistency has helped Tim Macrow build a championship lead this season; the only driver to finish on the podium in three of the four rounds contested to date.

Macrow has won three of the four F3 races he’s started at the 3.1km Queensland Raceway layout, winning his first ever race at the venue in 2006 before going on to win both races during his 2009 title-challenging season.

Morcom, meanwhile, will be buoyed by the fact that his R-Tek Motorsport team dominated at the track last year – eventual champion James Winslow winning all three races at the track and setting both qualifying and race lap records for the class.

In the Forpark Australia F3 National Class, Queensland-based driver Arrie Maree will seek to return to the top of the standings, having won the opening three rounds of the series ‘race within a race’.

18-year-old Adelaide driver Todd Hazelwood broke through for his first overall victory at Sydney Motorsport Park recently, with his R-Tek teammate Jon Collins another to score a breakthrough victory there – making the class battle particularly interesting this weekend.

The Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship is proudly supported by Kumho Tyres, Forpark Australia, ELF/ Race Fuels, PFC and Replay XD Australia.