CAMS PAYCE Australian Formula 4 Championship leader Luis Leeds has continued his victorious form in Sydney to claim victory in the opening race at Phillip Island on Friday afternoon.
Starting from Castrol Pole Position, Leeds led from lights-to-flag in the 12-lap race aboard his AGI Sport machine, adding another 25 points to his championship lead.
“It’s good to start with that. It’s important to keeping chipping away,” Leeds said.
“When you get a car as good as the one AGI has given me, it’s not a hard task. I make sure I go out there to tick all the boxes and bring it back in first place.
“I’ve said it for years, this is my favourite track. It’s just so smooth, suits my driving style, and I look forward to coming here every single year.”
Team BRM’s Ryan Suhle profited a position to finish almost six seconds adrift from Leeds, after starting from the second row. Suhle, who again is double-stinting with the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge this weekend, is also contending with a rolled ankle.
“It was good after our DNF in Sydney to get out there and get some points,” Suhle said.
“I had a really good battle with Lochie [Hughes] until he had an issue. I think that would’ve continued with the slipstream here at Phillip Island. It was a lot of fun, I hope we can do it here again in race two, three, four, five and six.
“Jumping in and out of the two cars has been very challenging at both Sydney and here. The techniques are pretty much the polar opposite. I also rolled my ankle two or three days ago, I’m in quite a bit of pain. Other than that, it’s been a good weekend.
Antonio Astuti recovered from sixth on the grid to cross the chequered flag third, but was later excluded from the race after scrutiny found the car to be under the minimum weight.
Hayek, in his first Formula 4 race since victory on the Gold Coast in 2016, returned to the podium in third place as a result of Astuti’s disqualification.
Lochie Hughes dropped from second to fourth, with the CAMS Rising Star driver reporting extreme tyre wear from the rear of his Team BRM. Christian Mansell finished fifth in his first ever race at Phillip Island.
Patrizicorse’s Jackson Walls climbed as high as fourth, and was on course for a potential podium finish before mechanical gremlins struck late in the race.
“It was an interesting race after not having the best start and getting up to fourth. Due to a failure inside the car I couldn’t finish the race.
“It’s a lot faster than I remember just on the limiter going through turn one every single lap. It definitely wakes you up, especially when you hit the curb and nearly run wide.
Race two will take place from 9:10am AEST on Saturday, with race three to be live streamed on formula4.com.au from 11am to determine the winner for round three.
Round four’s opening race will take place at 1:35pm AEST Saturday.
Race One – Round Three (1/3)
1. Luis Leeds
2. Ryan Suhle +5.9193
3. Harry Hayek +17.1176
4. Lochie Hughes +18.8908
5. Christian Mansell +19.0936
6. Jackson Walls +1:11.7006
DNF. Emerson Harvey
DSQ. Antonio Astuti
1. Luis Leeds: 135
2. Ryan Suhle: 88
=3. Lochie Hughes: 85
=3. Antonio Astuti: 85
5. Tommy Smith: 44
6. Jackson Walls: 41
7. Jayden Ojeda: 35
8. Taylor Cockerton: 31
9. Ryan Yardley: 27
10. Emerson Harvey: 26
11. Jackson Burton: 19
12. Harry Hayek: 15
13. Josh Smith: 6
14. Dylan Thomas: 6