28 January 2021 | General

Qualifing, Consistency key to S5000 Gold Star title chase

Qualifying and maximising all three races across each of the four rounds will be key to claiming this year’s VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship.

That’s the word from the key title contenders to have emerged at the top of the standings following the opening round held  this week at the Boost Mobile Race Tasmania event, at Symmons Plains Raceway.

CLICK HERE for VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship Standings following Round 1. 

Victorian Thomas Randle leads the championship by eleven points following the first round having scored results of second and sixth in the pair of heat races, before slamming home an emphatic victory in the 25-lap finale’ held on Australia Day.

Critically, earlier in the event Randle also scored pole position – qualifying results also included in this years’ championship scoring.

Pole position is worth 10 championship points at every round this year: points awarded to every driver who qualifies in the top 10 down to a single point for 10th position.

The pair of heat races are worth 30 points each to the winners while the feature race is worth double that, at 60 points.

According to double Gold Star champion Tim Macrow, the scoring system emphasises putting together a complete weekend performance rather than focussing only on the main feature race.

“(The system) rewards consistency and making the most of every session,” said Macrow, who trails championship leader Randle by eleven points after a strong runner-up finish in Round 1.

“We qualified poorly on Monday which was costly, but made up some ground in the first heat and then absolutely maximised our starting position in the second race to get maximum points.”

The grid for the second heat race is based on the top eight positions from qualifying being reversed – meaning Macrow jumped from seventh to second before the race even began. He then converted that to his first victory of the season.

“The second heat is going to be one of the most critical sessions of the weekend because it can make or break your weekend.

“We didn’t go well in qualifying but because we had a fast race car, I knew I had the car to win that race so we had to capitalise. That set us up with enough points to start the feature race from third, and ultimately finish second overall which was a great start. There are a loot of points up for grabs in the main race so it’s critical to be towards the front for the start of that one.

“But it’s proof that every session in such a short, four-round championship, is going to be critical. You can’t make mistakes.”

Macrow trails Randle by 11 points, with Race 1 winner Joey Mawson third in the standings a further 11 behind.

Garry Rogers Motorsport drivers fill three of the next four positions on the leaderboard with Luis Leeds the leader of the GRM trip.

He holds down fourth position while Nathan Herne sits fifth and James Golding seventh.

They’re split by Victorian privateer Ricky Capo, who’s consistent Symmons Plains weekend has him sixth in the standings.

The VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship continues at the Shannons All Wheels Race Fest at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on February 19-21.

It will mark the 36th time the iconic Victorian circuit will have hosted a round of Australia’s premier open-wheel Championship, the first event at the circuit won by Lex Davison in 1957, driving a Ferrari 500.