Spectrum 1-2-3 proves 014 is changing the game
The most recent round of the 2012 Australian Formula Ford Championship (AFFC) was a successful one for Spectrum Racing Cars, with the new 014 chassis chalking up another race win in only its second outing at Tasmania’s Symmons Plains Raceway.
Bouncing back from a challenging first round at the Australian Grand Prix two weeks ago, a focussed and fired-up Shae Davies was competitive right from the outset in Tasmania and posted a time of 56.2914s to finish overall fastest in practice, heading Synergy Motorsport’s Mathew Hart who was fastest in Friday’s opening session. Even in practice, Davies’ time was quicker than the 2011 pole position time set only four months ago.
With its fast, 1.0km long back straight comprising almost 50% of the Launceston circuit’s 2.4km layout, slipstreaming would play an important part in qualifying with all drivers seeking to benefit from a ‘tow’ in their pursuit of the fastest time. In clear air, Davies was easily the quickest driver on the track and set an early marker of 56.3268s to head the field for most of Saturday’s 20-minute qualifying session, only to be displaced in the final minute by Jacobson who picked up a perfect tow. Hart’s strong weekend continued, with the Synergy driver ending the session in third.
The opening race on Saturday afternoon was one of the most spirited in a long time, with the front-row starting Jacobson and Davies breaking clear from the pack to swap the lead four times in the first seven laps. Taking advantage of clear air, Hart zeroed in on the lead battle and moved into second when Davies had to run off track to avoid contact as he was squeezed whilst challenging for the lead. Davies recovered and moved back into third, with the three drivers holding their positions until the end of the race. Of little consolation to Davies was the fastest lap of the race by almost 0.3s.
Race two on Sunday morning saw Hart out-drag Jacobson off the start line to lead into turn two, before the race was neutralised under Safety Car conditions due to a stalled car on pit straight. After the restart, an aggressive three-way battle ensued between Hart, Jacobson and Davies who all traded the lead with regularity, with Hart looking like he would survive the street fight to register his second AFFC race win, until Jacobson snuck through on the penultimate lap to take the win from the Canberran and Davies, who again posted the fastest lap.
The highlight of an intensely competitive weekend for Spectrum was Sunday’s third and final race, with Hart and Davies building a comfortable margin as they drove away from the field. In the dying laps, a damaged third gear for Davies allowed Hart to challenge the Queenslander, so much that the two cars made contact within sight of the chequered flag as Davies desperately held on for a well-deserved and hard-fought first AFFC race win.
Second place for Hart and a strong comeback drive to third from Synergy Motorsport team-mate Liam Sager completed a 1-2-3 result for the Australian constructor, an excellent result clearly underlining the competitiveness of the new 014 chassis.
As the teams now look to Round 3 at Victoria’s Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on May 18-20, Hart is only two points behind the championship leader, with Davies launching to fourth in the standings. Adelaide’s Sam Power continues to lead the Rookie of the Year standings, driving his Spectrum 014 for Synergy Motorsport.
Hart also leads the Spectrum ‘Driver to USA’ Challenge for the Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing USF2000 test drive, 37 points clear of Davies with Sager in third.