Last year’s Championship runner-up Nick Rowe and CAMS Foundation Rising Star Ryan Suhle have secured Pole Position for Saturday and Sunday’s respective opening races at Sandown Raceway.
In a first for the CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship, two rounds will be held across the one weekend – with three 30 minute races for Round One on Saturday, and a further three for Round Two on Sunday.
Armed with ex-German Formula 4 engineer Timmi Ungar, AGI Sport and Rowe claimed the season opening pole award by a staggeringly close 0.0257 seconds ahead of New Zealand debutant Liam Lawson.
“We had a good run in the first [qualifying]. Then just couldn’t get the lap and didn’t quite have the setup in the second one. Don’t know what happened but these things happen, that’s alright. A pole in the first one, rain on Sunday; we’ll see how we go, should be good fun,” Rowe said.
The top ten in qualifying were only split by 0.59 seconds, in a hotly contested season opening qualifying session as the track evolved in the two 15 minute sessions.
“It’s not too bad, but it did change a lot for that second qualifying. I had so much understeer, I was just piling it into lock everywhere. But that’s alright, we’ve got Timmi here, he’ll sort it out,” Rowe continued.
Lawson, who is Australian Formula 4’s first New Zealand racer, thoroughly enjoyed his first day of practice and qualifying at Sandown Raceway. The Team BRM driver will start both Saturday and Sunday openers on the front row of the grid.
“I remember that your second fastest time goes for your last race and that puts us P1, so really stoked about that,” Lawson said.
“Apart from P1 in the first race, it really couldn’t have been much of a better debut. Really stoked, looking forward to the races.”
CAMS Foundation Rising Star Ryan Suhle also impressed on his and Zagame Autosport’s Australian Formula 4 debut by also claiming Sunday’s pole position and starting Saturday’s opener from third on the grid.
“Yeah it’s awesome, a lot of debuts! I’m super stoked with it all, super happy, it’s awesome,” Suhle said.
“As a racing driver, you’re always striving for pole. But I knew it was all there, we just needed all the right ingredients and put them together, and we did it. I’m super happy.”
Fellow CAMS Foundation Rising Star Cameron Shields will start on the second row of the grid on Saturday’s opener, alongside third placed Suhle.
“I’ve got my work cut out, starting from the rear of the field, I’m sure,” Shields said.
“I’ll be pushing every single time and hopefully by the end of the weekend we can be back towards the front.
“It’s going to be pretty close racing, I think. It’s not going to be easy that’s for sure. It’s going to be fun.”
Another Rising Star in Simon Fallon will start Sunday’s opening race from P3 alongside Team BRM teammate Josh Denton in P4. Last year’s Burson Auto Parts Rookie of the Year winner topped both of Friday’s practice sessions and will start tomorrow’s opener from P6 alongside Zagame Autosport’s Tyler Everingham.
JRD’s Jordan Mazzaroli qualified seventh ahead of Team BRM and CAMS Foundation Rising Star Zane Morse in eighth, after two encouraging practice sessions on Sunday.
“It was pretty good, went a lot better than I expected; the car was great, the team really made the set up pretty well. I finished fifth in that one,” Mazzaroli said.
“Practice Two should be a good one; I’m already pretty comfortable with the car. Should be a good one.”
Team BRM rookie Aaron Love, brother of last year’s third placed getter Jordan Love, qualified ninth ahead of Josh Denton who rounded out the top ten after only just confirming his entry days before the Sandown opener. With AGI Sport trio Zakkary Best, Harley Haber and Sage Murdoch rounding off the remaining spots.
“This track is off the rails! Honestly, there is so much to learn still. I’ve rocked up here and I’m like ‘oh my god,’ the first few laps are just crazy,” Haber said.
“A fair bit of learning to go now and a bit of data to go over. We’ll see what happens.”
Round One’s three races tomorrow will commence from 9:10am, followed by Race Two at 11:35, and the final at 2:30pm.
Qualifying One Results
1. Nick Rowe – AGI Sport – 1:15.3365
2. Liam Lawson – Team BRM +0.0257
3. Ryan Suhle – Zagame Autosport +0.1695
4. Cameron Shields – Team BRM +0.1992
5. Tyler Everingham – Zagame +0.2152
6. Simon Fallon – Team BRM +0.2546
7. Jordan Mazzaroli – JRD +0.4172
8. Zane Morse – Team BRM +0.4736
9. Aaron Love – Team BRM +0.5820
10. Josh Denton – Team BRM +0.5939
11. Zak Best – AGI Sport +1.2397
12. Harley Haber – AGI Sport +1.5944
13. Sage Murdoch – AGI Sport +1.9113
Qualifying Two Results
1. Ryan Suhle – Zagame Autosport – 1:15.1503
2. Liam Lawson – Team BRM +0.0712
3. Simon Fallon – Team BRM +0.1486
4. Josh Denton – Team BRM +0.2586
5. Zane Morse – Team BRM +0.2966
6. Nick Rowe – AGI Sport +0.4879
7. Tyler Everingham – Zagame Autosport +0.5264
8. Aaron Love – Team BRM +0.6347
9. Jordan Mazzaroli – JRD +0.8267
10. Harley Haber – AGI Sport +0.9643
11. Zak Best – AGI Sport +1.1496
12. Cameron Shields – Team BRM +1.1919
13. Sage Murdoch – AGI Sport +1.3170