Sager dominates Gold Coast

Sager dominates Gold Coast with three from three!

Gold Coast, Queensland (25-27 October)
Rnd#5 2013 Australian Formula Ford Championship

Minda Motorsport rebounded from a less than ideal run at Winton Motor Raceway to dominate the Gold Coast street race, however whilst three wins from three starts was worth celebrating, for title favourite Macauley Jones, it was very much a weekend to forget.

It had been two years since the national Formula Ford Championship had last visited the Gold Coast circuit, and on that weekend, Minda was victorious in two of the three races with Jack Le Brocq, the winner of the other, [then] rival Liam Sager.

This time around though Sager was part of the Minda squad, and he helped keep the team’s domination of street circuits alive.

In opening practice Sager and Jones finished the session 1-2, half a second up on the points leader. Qualifying was next, and whilst Jones led the pair out the gate, he quickly allowed Sager through in an effort to follow him and pick up some tips, but on their second flying lap, Sager made a mistake into turn 13, and with nowhere to go, Jones collected him on the way through.

“I just ran out of talent,” Sager shrugged.

Fortunately damage was light, but the session was over for both drivers, and whilst Sager had posted one quick lap, Jones was in the process of setting his best lap when the incident occurred.

“That’s not the way to start the weekend,” he admitted afterwards.

“On the first lap it was clear Liam was faster, so I waved him through and followed him closely to pick up some race lines, but he made a slight error and clipped the wall, and I had nowhere to go..”

Fortunately Sager had posted a solid time on just his first flying lap to be classified third, whilst Jones was relegated to the sixth row of the grid, and emerging star Jayden Wallis set the ninth fastest time.

Off the second row Sager was clearly the driver with pace, and within a couple of laps he was pushing race leader De Pasquale hard, ultimately forcing him into an error which allowed the Minda Motorsport/CAMS Rising Star driver through for a comfortable win.

Behind him Jones was working his way through the field, but by the time he got through the pack, the leaders had too great an advantage and he had to settle for sixth, whilst behind him, Wallis drove a solid race for a tenth place finish and more valuable championship points.

Sager was again quick off the line for race two, but was forced to follow Sam Power through turn one. Behind him, Macauley Jones found himself right where he didn’t want to be, stuck between Tomas Randle and Simon Hodge, the three drivers side-by-side into the turn one left hander.

“It was never going to work,” he admitted with frustration afterwards. “I got a great start, but going into turn one I couldn’t go left, I couldn’t go right and I couldn’t go back, so I was just a passenger, and ultimately the inevitable happened.”

Whilst the three drivers were eliminated from the race, behind them Jayden Wallis managed to avoid the carnage and creep inside the top ten for the restart.

Sager needed only four corners to take the lead, the Queenslander driving away from the field to set the fastest lap of the race and claim a comfortable second victory, with team-mate Wallis an outstanding seventh.

In race three, Power once again grabbed the advantage off the line to lead into turn one, but behind the leaders there was carnage - fortunately this time both Jones and Wallis managed to avoid trouble, Jones for his efforts claiming eight positions on the opening lap.

On the restart Sager was again quickly through to the lead, whilst behind him both Wallis and Jones were making good ground. In the end Sager’s margin of victory was over two seconds, with title rival De Pasquale ultimately working his way through to second. For Minda the result was made even sweeter by Wallis’ stirring drive through to fifth, one position ahead of Jones.

“I think experience was the key around here,” Sager admitted afterwards. “We had a quick car, and Wayne my engineer did a brilliant job, we just kept getting faster. The Minda cars have always been good on street circuits, so hopefully that will put us in good stead for Homebush.

“I’m not thinking too much about the championship to be honest, although that said my goal for the next two rounds is to finish every race ahead of Anton [De Pasquale].

“It was a pity about what happened in qualifying, but that’s racing. Anywhere else Macca wouldn’t have been so close behind, I’m just sorry that it messed up his weekend.”

For Jones it was a tough weekend on his Gold Coast debut, but whilst clearly frustrated by the outcome, he wasn’t sure he could do much more.

“If you asked me if there was one thing I would do differently this weekend, it would be to not follow Liam (laughs).

“As Liam said, that’s motor racing, you just have to deal with it. We know we’re quick at Phillip Island, and we know we’re quick on street circuits, so there’s no reason why we can win every one of the remaining races, we’ve just got to move past this weekend and prepare for the next.”

Heading into the Phillip Island round - Jones sits second in the championship points, 36 points behind De Pasquale, whilst Sager has moved into third, just six points behind his team-mate. Jayden Wallis too moved forward in the championship points after the Gold Coast, jumping to tenth.

 


Rnd#5 2013 Australian Formula Ford Championship
Gold Coast, Queensland (25-27 October)

 

 


Macauley Jones - #14
Minda Motorsport/CAMS Rising Star Mygale SJ13a
Qualifying: P11 (1:19.5541) - 2.6821 from P1
Race #1 (12-laps): P6 (fastest lap 1:17.4992)
Race #2 (9-laps): DNF (0-laps)
Race #3 (11-laps): P6 (fastest lap 1:18.0884)

 

 


Liam Sager - #98
Minda Motorsport/CAMS Rising Star Mygale SJ11a
Qualifying: P3 (1:18.1993) - 1.3273 from P1
Race #1 (12-laps): P1 (fastest lap 1:17.1713)
Race #2 (9-laps): P1 (fastest lap 1:17.1367)**
Race #3 (11-laps): P1 (fastest lap 1:17.1672)**
** fastest race lap

 

 


Jayden Wallis - #12
Minda Motorsport Mygale SJ12a
Qualifying: P9 (1:19.1408) - 2.2688 from P1
Race #1 (12-laps): P10 (fastest lap 1:18.3390)
Race #2 (9-laps): P7 (fastest lap 1:18.1444)
Race #3 (11-laps): P5 (fastest lap 1:18.1101)

 

 


Australian Formula Ford Championship
(points after round five of seven)
1. Anton De Pasquale - 233 points
2. Macauley Jones (Minda Motorsport/CAMS Rising Stars) - 197
3. Liam Sager (Minda Motorsport/CAMS Rising Stars) - 191
4. Sam Power - 183
5. Jordan Lloyd* - 126
6. Simon Hodge - 106
7. Luke Marquis* - 98
8. Tom Randle* - 83
9. Ash Quiddington - 62
10. Jayden Wallis* (Minda Motorsport/CAMS Rising Stars) - 52
* rookie

 

 


2013 Australian Formula Ford Championship
Rnd#1, 5-7 April - Symmons Plains, TAS (V8SC)
Rnd#2, 5-7 July - Townsville, QLD (V8SC)
Rnd#3, 27-28 July - Queensland Raceway (V8SC)
Rnd#4, 23-25 August - Winton, VIC (V8SC)
Rnd#5, 25-27 October - Gold Coast, QLD (V8SC)
Rnd#6, 23-24 November - Phillip Island, VIC (V8SC)
Rnd#7, 6-8 December - Homebush, NSW (V8SC)