The CAMS Foundation Rising Stars have completed their third racing weekend of 2017 at Barbagallo Raceway in Western Australia.
Round Three was also the CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship’s first visit, with Cameron Shields the first Australian Formula 4 driver to win a round at Barbagallo. In doing so, the Toowoomba driver is also the first Rising Star to win a national championship round since Macauley Jones in 2013.
“I’m very honoured to be the first CAMS Foundation Rising Star to take out a round and race victory,” Shields said.
“Also knowing some of the success from previous Rising Stars is very encouraging and hopefully I can keep on continuing. It certainly has been an amazing weekend. To take out two of the race wins, and come out on top, has been an amazing achievement. A big thank you to the team, BRM, and everyone who’s supported me so far.”
With Australian Formula 4’s first visit to Barbagallo, there was little data gathering prior to this round for teams to understand the track surface. Tyre management was the key talking point throughout the Formula 4 grid.
“This track has got very banked corners and a rough surface, so tyre degredation was certainly a key role that played out through this weekend,” Shields said.
“With the Supercars here, they lay out a lot of rubber and marbles, so that makes it very difficult. You’ve got to stick on some tight lines. Also with the drift cars just before us, it certainly made the track very slippery for the first few laps – so that made it very interesting!”
Simon Fallon was the next best placed Rising Star in seventh overall for the round, and immediately congratulated his round winning teammate at the end of the weekend but strived to soon join him on a future podium.
“You always want to beat your teammates! [Shields] is a good kid, and I really enjoy working with him and racing against him. It’s a really good relationship we’ve got over at Team BRM with all the boys, we all jump out and shake hands,” Fallon said.
After a difficult double-round at Sandown last month, Barbagallo was a confidence rebuilding round for the Victorian driver to claim consistent race points for his Championship aspirations.
“It was a bit of a slow start for us throughout the weekend. Towards the end, we should a bit more fight in us and we managed to get back in the game a little bit more,” Fallon said.
“I’m really looking forward to going back to Phillip Island, a track that we’re really comfortable with, we know the team’s good at it. I know I’ve had a few good results there, really looking forward to getting over there and a full reset.”
Zane Morse was just one point behind Fallon in the final points, with the Canberra pilot collecting 13 points to finish eighth. With three rounds now complete, Morse is looking forward to improving upon his consistency in remaining rounds.
“It has gone past really quick! Qualifying, I could have done a lot better – I just stuffed around. The first race I dropped back a position back into tenth. Second race, I did a lot better I started off tenth and went into seventh. Third race, I went to eighth to seventh. So it was a consistent round, but next time hopefully I’ll do better,” Morse said.
The Team BRM driver enjoyed his first visit to Barbagallo, and learnt an important lesson in the way qualifying can springboard a driver’s weekend.
“It’s a very narrow track, it’s hard to pass at Barbagallo,” Morse continued.
“It’s just more about qualifying really. If you’ve got a good qualifying position you do well, but unfortunately I just didn’t have that and I had to work through it.”
Ryan Suhle, who enjoyed a highly successful round at Sandown, struggled in the early part of the weekend but gradually improved his experience and results before a fuel pump issue ended his final race prematurely.
“It’s been a bit of a rough one. We didn’t qualify well and kind of spent the whole weekend trying to work our way back through the field. We did so a little bit successfully, we had an eighth and a sixth,” Suhle said.
“We were gradually progressing forward but we had some sort of engine or electrical failure in the last race, which was a bit of a disappointment because I was really enjoying getting some race craft up and moving through the field a little bit.”
Like Morse, Suhle also enjoyed his first competitive race weekend aboard a Formula 4 racer at Barbagallo.
“It’s a lot different to the other tracks, obviously it’s very high speed,” Suhle said.
“A little bit of aero – I say a little bit, a fair bit of aero working there – but also the mechanical grip is quite different.”
Shield’s round win has skyrocketed him to third in the standings, 43 points off Championship leader Liam Lawson. Suhle, who prior to Round Three was himself sitting in third, has dropped to fifth on 77 points but remains the Burson Auto Parts Rookie leader.
The CAMS Foundation Rising Stars return to racing in a few weeks’ time at the open-wheel favourite Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.
The CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship will race alongside categories such as the Australian Endurance Championship, Porsche Carrera Cup, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge and the Australian Prototype Series – with former CAMS Foundation recipients set to take part – at the Shannons Nationals’ 100th round on 26–28 May.
Round Three Results
1st: Cameron Shields: 60
2nd: Nick Rowe: 48
3rd: Tyler Everingham: 45
4th: Liam Lawson: 42
5th: Josh Denton: 37
6th: Aaron Love: 14
7th: Simon Fallon: 14
8th: Zane Morse: 13
9th Jordan Mazzaroli: 12
10th: Ryan Suhle: 12
11th: Sage Murdoch: 4
12th: Zak Best: 2
13th: Harley Haber: 0
1st: Liam Lawson: 164
2nd: Nick Rowe: 160
3rd: Cameron Shields: 121
4th: Josh Denton: 94
5th: Ryan Suhle: 77
6th: Tyler Everingham: 68
7th: Aaron Love: 52
8th: Jordan Mazzaroli: 44
9th: Harley Haber: 34
10th: Simon Fallon: 31
11th: Zak Best: 28
12th: Zane Morse: 24
13th: Sage Murdoch: 6
Round Result: 1st
Race Results: 1st/5th/1st
Round Result: 7th
Race Results: 7th/11th/6th
Round Result: 8th
Race Results: 10th/7th/7th
Round Result: 10th
Race Results: 8th/6th/10th