Quick Spectrums in the battle at Sandown
Spectrum drivers Shae Davies and Mathew Hart were in the thick of intense racing for the lead all weekend in Round 6 of the Australian Formula Ford Championship at Sandown International Motor Raceway.
There was very little to separate the top four drivers and cars on the fast 3.1km circuit all weekend, with Davies and Hart (driving for Borland Racing Developments and Synergy Motorsport respectively) constantly in battle with Jack Le Brocq and Garry Jacobson in each of the three 12-lap races.
It was apparent from qualifying that picking a winner would be tough. Davies set the early pace and recorded a 1m14.6164s to set provisional pole until a red flag stoppage. When the session resumed, Davies was narrowly pipped for pole and ended up fourth fastest but less than eight-hundredths of a second off pole position!
In Race 1 on Saturday, Davies slotted into third from the start while Hart showed excellent pace to progress from sixth on the grid to third and in the battle for the lead by half distance with Davies in close pursuit. Hart pressured Le Brocq in the closing stages before the Mygale driver ran off track at Turn 1 and conceded second place to the Spectrum which Hart held to the finish. Davies was also in a position to pounce until Le Brocq re-entered the track from the grass right into the path of the Spectrum - making contact with Davies’ right front wheel.
Race 2 on Sunday morning was another classic slipstreaming battle between the top four drivers with some thrilling battles on the 240kph approach to the Turn 6 esses. Davies eventually finished third with Hart right behind.
Sunday’s final race saw more close racing until Hart was cruelly hit from behind by the Mygale of Trent Harrison who was making his first race start since November 2011. The contact was enough to damage the gearbox of Hart’s car and sidelined the championship contender. Davies spent the remainder of the race on the heels of Le Brocq and Jacobson and on the final corner almost took advantage of a change of position between the pair, finishing a close third in a nail-biter.
The result saw Davies’ first return to the podium for the round since Symmons Plains earlier this year where the Queenslander took his maiden race victory.
Spectrum Racing Cars now focuses its attention on the penultimate round at Mount Panorama, Bathurst for a high-profile support event to the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
The last time Formula Ford supported the Bathurst 1000 was with a pair of non-championship races in 2004. Spectrum clean swept the results that weekend, with current Synergy Motorsport team owner Justin Cotter winning the first race and Andrew Thompson heading Cotter in a Spectrum 1-2 in the final.