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Saturday 12st July 2003

Oran Park, July 12, 2003

In cool, fine conditions F3 took to the track for the first qualifying session this morning at 10.50am. Barton Mawer quickly stamped his authority on the session by recording a 1:04.0595 on just his third lap, and first flying lap. Michael Caruso was hot on his heels early, putting down a time of 1:04.5475 on his first flying lap. Christian Jones was third followed by Kenny Habul and PSC’s rookie Marcus La Delle.

James Cressey was sixth and not on the pace and Peter Hackett was languishing in tenth before pitting for his crew to make adjustments to the Dallara Renault Sodemo. Chris Gilmour was leading the pack in the Yokohama Trophy class with a time of 1:09.5703.

Cressey made a move to fourth place on his fourth lap with a time of 1:05.5865. BRM’s Matt Fitzgerald seemed to be struggling in 17th place while teammates Craig Rundle and Karl Reindler were in ninth and tenth. David Borg moved ahead of Chris Gilmour to take the lead in the Trophy class mid-session.

Hackett, now back on the track seemed happier with his car and moved up to fifth place with a time of 1:05.1595, while Kenny Habul was doing well in sixth followed by Marchy Lee in seventh. Marcus La Delle had dropped down to eighth.

Christian Jones briefly went to second place on his ninth lap and the order was Mawer, Jones, Caruso, Cressey, Hackett and Habul. Barton Mawer repeated his stunning qualifying performance from Queensland by putting in a heart-stoppingly quick 1:03.7301, a time that seemed unbeatable.

Jones remained second but Reindler put in his best lap of the session so far with a 1:04.7548 to move up to fourth place. The session was red flagged when Craig Rundle spun due to gear box problems, his car having to be retrieved from under the bridge. On the same lap Bill Maddocks cruised to a halt on the exit of turn 1, unable to select a gear, and neither of them took any further part in proceedings.

The session resumed with the top order unchanged. Matt Fitzgerald improved with a time of 1:06.9869 to move to tenth. Habul also improved with a 1:05.5657 but remained in seventh place. Reindler went quicker but stayed fourth, while Marchy Lee improved to take sixth place ahead of Hackett and Habul.

Late in the session, Caruso made one final effort to overtake Mawer and put in a 1:04.1066 but stayed in second place.

In the Yokohama Trophy class, Chris Gilmour moved up to 12th outright with a 1:07.5905 on his last lap to overtake Borg for pole position. Graeme Holmes was third quickest followed by Anderson, Boothman and Maddocks.

Just .75 of a second covered the top four drivers. The race lap record, which has stood since August 2000 is held by Peter Hackett driving a Dallara Toyota ’97 in a time of 1:05.0150. Mawer’s qualifying time today is nearly 2 seconds quicker!

Press Release, Australian F3-Association




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