SIMON HODGE stopped a run of home-town victories from home-town hero Ben Gersekowski and won round five of the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship, in one of the upsets of the season at Queensland Raceway.
McDonald’s Gilmour Racing’s Ben Gersekowski had earlier tenaciously won both sprint races at the Ipswich circuit but the big-points feature went the way of the Team BRM Mygale when he won the start and led into turn one.
He pulled away to win from there to re-establish a 13-point lead at the top of the Gold Star standings with three rounds to go.
After enduring ‘less than spectacular’ starts for a majority of the season to date, it was the race three launch that ultimately got Hodge the round victory at Queensland Raceway.
“Coming into the last race, I knew it would be a case of whoever got the start would probably win the race,” Hodge explained.
“Finally.. I did the job off a start line and to do what was needed to be done was fantastic for me.
“We felt that we would be on the back foot this weekend but to come away relatively even on points is fantastic and it makes the rest of the year very interesting from here.”
Gersekowski finished second for McDonald’s Gilmour Racing, his two sprint race victories helping to close the points margin to Hodge by two points following the Queensland round – the gap was 15 before this weekend and 13 after it.
He remains well in a title fight that remains delicately poised heading into the final few rounds.
“Overall it was a great weekend. To get two wins and two fastest laps was great and I was trying to get the round win, but you can’t have everything Credit to BRM for getting their car right for that one and all I can say is, bring on Phillip Island. It’s going to be tough.
“I’m excited to take the McDonald’s Gilmour Racing ’08 Dallara there because I think it’s going to be fast.”
Garnet Patterson continued his recent run of starring performances, finishing third outright in the Queensland Raceway feature race to go with his Forpark Australia National Class victory as well.
Patterson made another brilliant start and held third for the majority, pulling away from his chasing rivals after spending the early laps fending off outright championship contender, Chris Gilmour.
After winning his class in Darwin, Patterson extended his class title lead ahead of the final three rounds of the championship and now leads closest rival, Chelsea Angelo, by 24 points.
James Winslow charged his way to fourth – third of the championship class contenders - at the end of a challenging return weekend to the championship that had all types of drama thrown at the double title-winning brit.
He ran fifth for a majority of the feature race before passing Chris Anthony on the final corner of the last lap to grab fourth, and the third-placed championship car home.
Anthony finished fifth with Chris Gilmour completing a quiet return weekend in sixth. Ricky Capo, Chelsea Angelo, a battling Paul Scott and Blake Varney, and Dennie Rumble completing the finishers.
Earlier in the day, Gersekowski won an action-packed second sprint race after having to defend off Hodge for the entire distance – however that wasn’t the end of the story.
Hodge was penalised five seconds for rolling at the start of the race, dropping him down the order behind Patterson and teammate Chris Anthony.
Winslow was challenging for a podium finish in race two however was assessed a drive-through penalty for passing Garnet Patterson on an early-race restart.
Accelerating onto the start-finish straight Patterson lost the rear of his car, with the resulting slide slowing him down and allowing Winslow to charge past – however he was penalised for overtaking prior to the control line and given a drive through penalty as a result.
He had otherwise shown strong pace in his R-Tek Dallara on his F3 comeback. Chris Gilmour finished race two fifth and Ricky Capo sixth in the Modena Dallara.
The next round of the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship sees the series head to the fastest circuit on the calendar – the fast and flowing Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit – on September 19-21.