Ben Clucas Racing

Symmons Plains 7-9th April

A win and a third was a bit of a disappointment in a weekend that might have ended even better.

 

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Symmons Plains is a relatively uncomplicated circuit, with only 3 real corners, so being fastest by 4 tenths in Friday practise was very promising. Qualifying was a different story with Ben, Chris Alajajain and Michael Trimble within hundredths of each other, resulting in pole for race one but only third for race two. A minor fix before the first race gave hope for a little more speed, and so it proved to be. The Gawler Farm/ John Deere car lead off the line with gradually increasing gap to Alajajain as the race progressed, repeatedly breaking the F3 lap record and leaving it within a tantalising 4 hundreds of the outright circuit record (held by a F5000 Lola Chevrolet). Trimble recovered from a poor start to finish third.

The second race, from grid three was clearly going to be much more difficult. Alajajain beat Trimble off the line and Ben held station. He then harried Trimble before getting by with a bold move up the inside into the last turn on lap 4. Alajajain had, by this time pulled out a comfortable gap , but that was quickly eroded and the lead taken on lap 8. Things were looking very good - but not for long! No sooner had another win looked likely. a broken bolt left the exhaust flapping and made a DNF a more likely result. The power loss cost over a second a lap, and inevitably both Alajajain and Trimble were soon back past. Ben nursed the car home and did well to hang onto third place, Trimble eventually getting the win from Alajajain.

Ben was naturally disappointed. "Things had been going well, and I was pleased with my pace - especially in the early part of the second race. Looking on the bright side, I am relieved I made it home in third place - the meeting still leaves my 16 point championship lead unchanged over Michael Trimble and actually increases it over Chris Alajajain."

 

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