LBR Fights Back for Top Ten Finish After Poor Qualifying Session
Round three of the Formula Vee NSW Motor Race Championship was held at Wakefield Park over the weekend of 22-23 May where heavy fog delayed racing for an hour on Saturday and more than two hours on Sunday resulting in the third and final Formula Vee race being cancelled due to the 5pm noise curfew at the track.
Racing commenced at 10am on Saturday and the Formula Vee qualifying session kicked off around midday. The #18 Team Dockmate / Lowes Petroleum Service Formula Vee, driven by Paul Lister, had a terrible qualifying session after spinning on almost every lap of the qualifying session at the "fishhook” one of the more technical corners at Wakefield Park. With only two lap times set down, Paul qualified 12th in the sixteen-car field providing a challenge for the following races.
During qualifying the car was suffering from severe understeer and required some set up changes following the session. With the assistance of CXC Racing’s Dylan Thomas, changes were made to the front wheel alignment to introduce more toe out, pointing the front wheels away from each other \ --- / to help with cornering, and lifting the rear ride height via suspension adjustments to help shift weight further forward when braking. With the changes made the LBR Polar was ready for race one.
After getting off to a good start Paul was able to gain one position on the opening lap before the Safety Car was deployed on lap two. Following the restart Paul was lapping in P7 and was driving hard to close the gap on the next competitor when he lost it coming into turn 4 resulting in a spin and being overtaken by the following three cars pushing him back to P10.
Over the last four laps Paul was able to fight back, gaining almost 5 seconds on the cars in front to finish in a very close 9th with just two tenths of a second separating positions 7 to 9 as the cars came across the finish line.
Race two was held on Sunday and was shortened from 12 to 10 laps due to earlier fog and the #18 LBR Polar stared from P9 behind Paul Charlton in the #26 Mako and alongside Andrew McKinnon in the #99 Aurora. After a clean start, turn two was busy with the field bunched together, and adding to the congestion were two front runners eager to move through the pack after they were forced to start from the back of the grid after retiring from race one.
The pack moved through the top complex of turns two abreast leaving little room for error before two cars spun on the notorious fishhook allowing the Team Dockmate / Lowes Petroleum Service #18 to gain spots and take the fight up to the cars in front.
After several laps of close racing with Andrew McKinnon in the #99, Paul decided to dive deep into turn 10 in a move that saw him lock up the front right and overshoot the turn, but somehow he was able to make it stick and moved into P9. On Lap 7 of the 10 lap race Michael Sherwell, who went off-roading on lap 1, hunted Paul down pushing him back to P10 but he didn’t stay there for long after Simon Duffy dropped a cylinder on the second last lap allowing Paul to overtake him to finish in P9.
Race three was cancelled shortly after 4pm when it became apparent that there was not enough time to complete the event before the 5pm noise curfew.
LBR secure valuable points over the weekend and in doing so maintain their lead in Division 2 and are placed 5th overall in the open state championship just 11 points behind Leigh Porter in fourth place.