While the Perth winter hasn’t been kind so far, the clouds cleared and presented the paddock clear blue skies for round 4 of the WA F1000 Championship. With Sam Dicker closing the points gap in the championship to Alex Barboutis in the last round, and all our Arise Racing drivers getting some great testing in both dry and wet weather conditions under their belts, there was everything to play for!
Sam Dicker had a tight grip on qualifying, setting his fastest lap early in the session and was able to pit 3 laps earlier than the field to conserve his tyres. Behind him came a flurry of fast laps as the checkered flag dropped, with Adam Lisle improving to 3rd position, only 2 tenths away from pole. Alex Barboutis had to settle for 5th place after a difficult session, and both Chris Ratty and Mike Folwell put in their fastest times for the year in 6th and 7th respectively. Heinz Pfenninger had an improved session placing 9th.
Race 1 saw Sam get the jump on the field into turn 1, pulling a large gap by turn 6. This was helped by some wheel to wheel action through turns 2, 3 and 4 where both Adam and Alex were able to get past Rob Appleyard into 2nd and 3rd. The three would finish in this order completing an Arise Racing podium lock out. Chris pulled off the move of the weekend going around the outside of Ben Riley through turn 7 to finish an outstanding 5th. Mike had a brief battle with Stewart Burns and finished 8th followed by Heinz in 9th.
Race 2 was marred by a big first lap crash into turn 1. Unfortunately, Mike was forced to retire due to damage, and the race was red flagged. Chris was also tangled up in the crash but was able to continue. From the restart Sam was again able to get a jump on the field, with Adam and Alex battling hard for 2nd place. Alex was eventually able to find a way past Adam and showed some increased pace from the morning sessions. Sam, Alex and Adam would again lock out the podium for Arise Racing, with Chris recovering to 6th place after the early contact, and Heinz finishing 7th after managing to narrowly escape turn 1 contact.
With Sam and Alex starting on the front row for the final race, it was set up to be a thriller. Alex had a blinding start, driving around the outside of Sam into turn 1 to take the lead. Sam was quick to respond though, re-overtaking Alex into turn 7 on the same lap. Sam’s pace proved to be too much for the field and he managed to pull out a 5 second lead to take dominant 3 from 3 race wins by the checkered flag. Alex and Adam again couldn’t be separated in the closing laps, with Alex just holding off Adam to take 2nd place, and Adam completing the podium. Chris finished another solid 5th to cap off a great weekend, and Heinz and Mike were able to have a nice fight throughout the race, finishing 7th and 8th respectively.
With Sam now taking the lead in the championship from Alex, the next round of the season on September 10 should be the most hard fought yet!