fighting hard in the Championship, August 2004.
6 Wakefield Park Round Report
Round six of the eight round of the Australian F3 Championship saw Gilmour
Racing return to New South Wales for the second round in a row. Chris
Gilmour went to the meeting with the championship lead, which he held
since the second round at Oran Park. However, his point lead had slowly
been reduced over the last couple rounds, and it was now down to 12 points.
Having previously competed at the circuit last year, Gilmour felt confident
that another strong performance was on the cards, and he looked forward
to the competition.
Driving for Scud Racing in a Dallara F396 last year, Chris Gilmour already
knew the Wakefield Park layout. Gilmour thus spend Friday's first practice
session reacquainting himself with the braking points and lines, while
also beginning to tune the car. Gilmour concluded the 30-minute laying
session in second position, lapping the 2.2 kilometre track in 55.7932
seconds, 0.1975 seconds behind Team BRM's Karl Reindler.
The second practice session was run in much the same fashion with Gilmour
continuing to settle into the car and working on a setup for the remainder
of the weekend. The session results were almost identical to the first.
Gilmour again finished with the second fastest time. Of 32 laps, more
than any other driver in the session, Gilmour's fastest lap was 55.5291
seconds. Reindler again led the session and was 0.1977 seconds quicker.
Gilmour Racing went into the first qualifying session confident that they
would be able to slot onto the first row of the grid after their solid
Friday showings. But positions on Saturday were altered to the team's
detriment. Despite pushing the car to the limit, Chris Gilmour had to
be satisfied with the session's fourth fastest time, lapping Wakefield
Park in 54.9033 seconds. While sensing that the car was generally suited
to the track, the second gear was not correct, and the consequence was
a lack of ultimate pace. Ian Dyk took pole position and Karl Reindler
ahead of Aaron Caratti in third.
Ahead of qualifying for race two on Sunday the team made minor alterations
to the Dallara's setup. Throughout the 20-minute session Gilmour found
it difficult to find a break in traffic and was continually held up by
slower cars during the short laps. Despite the hold ups, Chris Gilmour
still steered himself into third place with a time of 55.5687 seconds.
again took pole while Reindler would also start race two from second on
Off the lights Chris got a good start and kept his position, slotting
himself behind Aaron Caratti. Chris felt that his race was already run
at the end of the first lap. Reindler had taken the lead from Dyk and
already pulled out a three second gap on Gilmour. The situation only got
worse as the car struggled for pace in the early laps and Caratti steady
drove away from him. From the tenth lap onwards Gilmour made ground
onto Caratti, catching him with less than half a dozen laps to go. Gilmour
hoped to make a pass on the Western Australian, but lapped traffic came
play. While Caratti caught the backmarkers through the fast section of
the track Gilmour was held up enough that Caratti was able to pull a safe
gap. Chris finished the race in fourth place behind Reindler, Dyk and
Caratti. Despite the result Chris was consoled in the fact that he still
held in the championship lead, though only with a slender gap of 2 points
The team knew that they could not let Reindler and Dyk run away in the
early laps and they altered the setup in an effort to improve the car's
performance. At the start, Chris got off the line well again and kept
his position, but Caratti would have none of it, and passed Chris. The
setup changes were fairly effective, and while the car still struggled
early on, the loss was not as significant as in the first race. On the
Ian Dyk pulled into the pits to retire, and Caratti inherited second position
while Gilmour was promoted into third. Gilmour was spurred on by Dyk's
retirement and gave hard chase to Caratti with a second place finish in
sight. The positions remained the same until the sixteenth lap, when Gilmour
passed Caratti as he came off a corner slowly. Reindler was too far ahead
to pressure, and Nic Jordan gave a minor scare by closing in on Gilmour
after he too passed Caratti. However the positions remained the same at
the end of the race, and Gilmour picked up his tenth podium of the season.
While he minimised the damage by finishing in second position, Chris Gilmour
had lost the championship lead, surrendering it to Reindler.
After the sixth round of the championship, Chris Gilmour lays in second
position in the championship standings. Karl Reindler leads on 188 points,
Chris Gilmour 184, and Ian Dyk in third with 156.
For the first time since the season began, Gilmour Racing will conduct
testing. Ahead of the seventh round at Mallala, to be held September 17-19,
the team will be testing at the South Australian track. The aim is to
gather data at the track, to try to regain the championship lead before
the final round of the championship at the Lexmark Indy 300 at the Gold
Gilmour Racing would like to thank Gawler Farm Machinery and Identity
Plus Embroidery in South Australia, and PM Lubricants, Revolution Racegear
and Gilmour Developments in Brisbane for their continual support.