The final round of the season was always headed for drama, with a 34 degree day and thunderstorms forecast. Alex Barboutis carried a slim lead in the Championship over Sam Dicker and the atmosphere around the garage was tense from the minute everyone arrived at the track.
Whilst all eyes were on the two lead drivers, qualifying threw up a huge curve ball. Rob Appleyard grabbed pole position narrowly from Ben Riley, with both being clear of the field on times having fresh rubber. Adam Lisle put in a stellar last lap to also outpace the two Championship rivals, claiming third position. Then came Alex in fourth, closely followed by Sam by only one tenth of a second. Chris Ratty carded a great lap to be just behind Sam in sixth, with Heinz Pfenninger qualifying in eighth. Unfortunately Mike had car troubles and was unable to complete a lap.
Alex immediately jumped from fourth to third on the first lap of Race 1, followed by Sam also getting past Adam into turn four. The three then set about moving up the field, all lapping at near identical pace. By the end Alex had moved up to second, followed by Sam in third and Adam in fourth. Chris finished in seventh after a poor start, followed by Mike in eighth and Heinz in tenth. The result saw Alex regain the lead in the Championship from Sam.
Race 2 again saw the Championship leaders duel it out in second and third place. Alex was again able to break away from Sam around the mid-point of the race, however in the closing few laps Sam was able to get close enough to have a look at passing for second. It was not meant to be and Alex retained the second place, followed by Sam. Adam again showed speed similar to that of the leaders, coming home in fourth, with Chris Ratty improving to sixth place. Mike Folwell finished in eighth, with Heinz stealing the show and pulling off the overtake of the weekend on Derek Burns entering turn seven, to finish ninth.
Spots of rain greeted the drivers on the dummy grid waiting for Race 3. Whilst Alex had a firm grip on the Championship, it was not completely over. Sam had to win, with Alex finishing no higher than fifth to still take the Championship. Alex was able to make the perfect getaway and take the lead in to turn one, with Sam stuck in third behind the rapid Ben Riley. Sam and Ben had an intense battle, with many changes for second and third place. Alex however, proved too fast and too consistent, pulling a four second advantage to take an easy race win and clench his second successive WA State F1000 Championship. Further down the field positions stayed as they were in Race 2, with Heinz again having a great battle with Derek Burns. While the fight for the Championship was going on out front, the fight everyone was watching was with Heinz!
So that’s a wrap for the WA State F1000 Championship for 2017. Congratulations to Alex Barboutis for clinching a second title, Sam Dicker for taking the Championship all the way down to the last race, and all the other drivers for making it the biggest and most competitive WA F1000 season to date. While the Championship may be over, there is one more F1000 round at Barbagallo Raceway on the 18th of November which is bound to excite.