Round 5 of the Championship came quickly with only a 3 week break from the last. Despite this, most drivers in the Arise Racing garage had managed to get some solid testing in, and the round was bound to see some moves. With Sam Dicker grabbing the overall points lead from Alex Barboutis at the last round, the Championship was closer than ever!
Alex was the first of the front runners to get their fastest lap set in qualifying and with a mid-54 second lap, closest to the lap record we have seen all year. Adam Lisle set his best lap for the session on his final lap, only missing out on the time set by Alex by one tenth of a second and claiming second, getting ever closer to that elusive maiden pole position. Sam Dicker rounded out the top 3 followed by Aaron Love, fresh from his seat time in F4. Chris Ratty put in a solid lap for sixth, with Mike Folwell and Heinz Pfenninger close by in eighth and ninth.
Race 1 was dominated by Alex who was able to hold onto first position from the start. Sam was able to put a good passing move on Adam for second position on the run into turn 4 on the first lap, but was unable to catch Alex. After chasing for 5 laps he was able to back off to conserve tyres for the following races. Aaron was able to put pressure on Adam throughout the entire race but was blocked twice for a move into third, finishing fourth. Chris, Mike and Heinz all finished in their qualifying positions and impressively all matched their qualifying times.
Race 2 was much the same as race 1, with Alex managing to run away with the lead from the start, and being six tenths faster than anyone else on the track. Sam again put up a valiant chase, but backed off once gapped to conserve his tyres. Adam this time outpaced Aaron, being able to comfortably take third place. Chris was able to pass Rob Appleyard during the race to improve his position to fifth, again showing increased pace from race 1. Mike was forced to pit a lap early which gave Heinz a great 7th place finish.
Race 3 saw Sam make an aggressive start and take the lead into turn one, overtaking pole sitter Alex around the outside. Alex proved too strong however, retaking the lead on the same lap, and was able to gap Sam almost instantly. Sam didn’t seem to have the pace he had in the previous races, with Adam all over him throughout the race, and having a few looks at a pass for second. Ultimately they would finish second and third respectively. Aaron brought it home in fourth place, and Mike and Heinz finished in seventh and eighth respectively. Unfortunately Chris had a spin and was unable to finish the race.
With Alex wrestling the lead back off Sam for the WA State Championship heading in to the deciding round on October 21, it provides a fitting climax to a thrilling season!