CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship debutant Brenton Grove has won a thrilling opening race at Symmons Plains on Saturday.
U Race It Pole Position winner Will Brown lead the field at the race start, only to be involved in an incident at Turn Four with Nick Rowe and Jordan Love.
Dropping to sixth, Brown emerged in second place after a spirited battle for the lead with Grove.
“Yeah, disappointing race obviously. Nick [Rowe] tried a lunge in Turn Four on the first lap and it didn’t work out, taking out Jordan and me,” Brown said.
“But we got back from sixth to second and had a bit of a dice with Brenton on the last few laps, but was unable to get him. Positive result and we’ll just push forward for the next one.”
Rowe, who set the U Race It Fastest Lap for Race One, claimed a return of throttle problems that the AGI Sport pilot had encountered in practice on Friday and Saturday.
“It was a bit of a shame, I’m sure we’ll get over it, it’ll be all good,” Rowe said.
“We had a few problems, Practice Two we shot off there, Practice Three we shot off there with the throttle sticking. We thought we fixed it in qualifying, but there in the first race it just kept going in a couple of times but I’m sure we’ll be right.
“Unfortunately made contact with Jordan and Will, I didn’t mean to but hopefully I still got some mates there. We’ll see what happens.”
Grove was delighted to claim victory, having shown impressive pace across all three practice sessions this weekend.
“Will was fast,” Grove said.
“Will was catching me, I did everything I physically could in the car to try and keep him behind me but luckily I did and I won the first race. I’m stoked, I couldn’t be happier!”
Jordan Love was disappointed to be caught out in the Turn Four incident, but remains positive for Sunday’s two races after a strong showing during Saturday practice and qualifying.
“It’s happened, nothing I can really do about it now so we’ll come back in Race Two,” Love said.
“Pace has been really good… the only positive we can take out of the crash is that the tyres are 14 laps better than anyone else’s!
“We’ll take that to our advantage and put a 110% effort into the next race.
Josh Denton secured an equally impressive third place, despite some steering damage after making contact with fellow karting graduate Jack Smith who retired from the race after encountering suspension damage.
“It was a very good race between the three of us [Brown and Grove] at the end of the race,” Denton said.
“Unfortunately I did have a little bit of contact in Turn Four on the opening lap but I managed to push through it with a steering issue but it was all good.
“Hopefully I can keep this momentum up for tomorrow’s race.”
Jordan McGregor achieved a fourth place finish, after the Jordan McGregor Motorsport operation made remarkable improvements during Saturday running.
“Today’s been a huge day for us. We took five seconds off our time from yesterday to today’s session, so definitely moving forward each session we go out,” McGregor said.
“It was a bit of a chaotic race, coming from behind to fourth was a great start to the season and hopefully we can keep it going forward for the rest of the weekend.”
JRD’s Tyler Everingham has also made considerable improvements to his pace in comparison to Friday’s running, with the 15-year-old eager to keep learning.
“I made a mistake on the cold tyres on the first lap, but you learn from mistakes and hopefully we can move forward from that,” Everingham said.
“We still got fifth out of all that, which is a good position but hoping we can do better.
“I think I gained over 2.6 seconds over the whole weekend so far, so it’s good.”
AGI Sport’s Josh Conroy climbed as high as fourth during the race, only for a spin to catch the Formula 4 rookie out.
“Pretty hectic start, I was P4 by the end of the first lap starting from P8,” Conroy said.
“Just made a rookie error into Turn Six after the restart with Brown coming up the inside, ran wide and went off the track.”
Despite the error, Conroy has made considerable gains in performance after only first sampling a Formula 4 car during Friday practice.
“We found a heap of time in the car overnight. Made some pretty drastic changes and come qualifying, it was awesome!
“I picked up about 1.3 seconds over yesterday, I’m happy with that.”
Races Two and Three for the CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship commence from 12:20pm and 4:05pm Sunday AEST respectively.
|1||23||Brenton Grove||Team BRM||14||0:56.9427|
|2||99||Will Brown||Team BRM||14||0:56.8540||0.4375|
|3||91||Josh Denton||Team BRM||14||0:56.8995||0.5152|
|6||97||Nick Rowe||AGI Sport||14||0:56.5431||26.4389|
|7||51||Josh Conroy||AGI Sport||14||0:58.1355||36.6611|
|DNF||79||Jordan Love||Team BRM|
|DNF||68||Jack Smith||AGI Sport|