It was a series of mixed fortunes in Saturday’s second reverse grid race for round four of the CAMS PAYCE Australian Formula 4 Championship at Winton.
CAMS Foundation Rising Star Lochie Hughes clinched an eagerly awaited race win for the first time in his Formula 4 career, holding a steady race that was interrupted with two safety car interventions.
Hughes though was relieved to hold steady and win his first race.
“That was such a hard race,” Hughes said.
“Once I got past Josh [Smith], I just had to put my head down and pull away. Then there was a safety car, which was really annoying because we had a big lead. It was my first safety car restart, so starting from first was a bit hectic…
“Those last two laps were probably the hardest two laps I’ve ever raced in my life. I’m so happy.”
Shields was thrilled for his teammate, but critically for his own championship aspirations – Shields now once again leads the championship.
“We’re really happy now. To be back on top, it’s exactly where we want to be,” Shields said.
“We’re showing good pace at this stage… Looking forward to this afternoon now. I’ll be off third, some work to do again, but hopefully we can get the job done.
Ryan Suhle crossed the line in third place, although Suhle was left to rue colliding with his teammate Jayden Ojeda – as Ojeda fought his way up the field after starting last. Though a lap down, Ojeda recovered in a points paying position of ninth.
Josh Smith, who started the reverse grid race from pole, held steady in the early portion of the race to lead at the race start. Eventually overtaken by Hughes, Smith though remained in contention in also breaking through for his first podium finish of the year.
Though it would be Smith and teammate Zayd Tones to cause the second safety car interruption on lap six, with the two stranded at turn four.
Patrizicorse’s Jackson Walls equalled his best result of the year in fourth, and was also relieved to finish the race fourth after the two safety cars.
“It was a bit action packed, but it got me into fourth though so I can’t complain about the race,” Walls said.
“Otherwise it was a good sprint race. I loved it.”
Antonio Astuti was elated with a best result of fifth place ahead of Aaron Love, Thomas Smith and Ardie Jonic in the remaining points positions.
“It was pretty exciting out there. I got front row seats to all the action,” Astuti said.
“The car was handling a lot better than how it’s been the last couple of outings. We’ve definitely moved forward in terms of pace.”
The third and final race of the day will take place at 2:30pm to conclude round four. A further three races will run on Sunday for round five.
Provisional Race Two Results (Round Four)
1. Lochie Hughes
2. Cameron Shields +1.0519
3. Ryan Suhle +1.6889
4. Jackson Walls +4.0228
5. Antonio Astuti +4.4706
6. Aaron Love +4.7430
7. Thomas Smith +5.7653
8. Ardie Jonic +6.1506
9. Jayden Ojeda +1 lap
DNF. Josh Smith
DNF. Zayd Tones