Categories: General Date: Aug 25, 2019 Title: SUPER 3 SET FOR SUPER SANDOWN DECIDERTHE KUMHO TYRE Super 3 series will go down to the wire in a climactic title decider at Sandown next month, after a thrilling round at The Bend Motorsport Park left four drivers in contention for the title.
Jayden Ojeda sealed a remarkable third consecutive Super 3 series round victory by just two points, while Broc Feeney’s second place overall ensured that he regained a narrow title lead heading to the final three races of the year.
The 10-lap finale’ at The Bend Motorsport Park was another dramatic affair that saw Ojeda and Feeney battle on the opening lap after starting side-by-side on the front row.
After Ojeda grabbed the lead through the first three corners, an attempted pass by Feeney at turn 17 on the opening lap saw both cars run wide and the lead swap to Hamish Ribarits.
While Feeney recovered in third, Ojeda was shuffled to sixth position and, at that point, off the top step of the round podium.
The incident was investigated by race control however no penalties were applied.
However, Ribarits was the next to strike dramas as officials penalised the MW Motorsport driver five seconds for rolling at the start.
That left Zak Best in the best possible position; passing Ribarits on lap seven to take a lead he would ultimately never lose – pulling away from the field gradually to ultimately record his sixth win of the season and breaking a streak of non-finishes in the critical third race of recent Super 3 series rounds.
With Best assured and in control out in front, Feeney was left to fend off Nic Carroll for third position with the pair running line astern to the flag.
Ribarits crossed the line in fourth position and Ojeda fifth – however Ribarits’ penalty promoted Ojeda into the top four and ensured he had enough points to win the round overall by a tiny margin.
The Anderson Motorsport driver finished two points in front of Feeney to reduce a 13-point championship deficit to 11 points ahead of Sandown’s finale’ next month.
Despite his Race 3 troubles, Ribarits was able to secure enough points to finish third overall and retain the same position in the championship; 58 points from the leader.
It was his third podium from four rounds this year, the Formula Ford graduate having also qualified in the top three in every round.
Best’s race three win was critical - after having looked potentially out of the title battle, the Benalla teenager now sits 73 points behind Feeney ahead of the title decider – where 143 points will be up for grabs.
Nic Carroll remains in mathematical title calculations, 140 points behind Feeney but more realistically looking for a spot on the podium given he is only 85 points behind teammate Best.
The title lead has changed hands five times in the four rounds contested so far with further changes at Sandown expected.
“If you told me I’d win two out of three races coming into the weekend I’d have taken it in a heartbeat,” Ojeda said.
“Two race wins is a really sold result, it closes the championship fight and puts us right in the fight for Sandown.”
Ojeda was philosophical about the contact that cost him a shot at victory in the third race, fortunate to recover to the overall victory thanks in part to Ribartis’ penalty.
“Everyone is going to have a view, but when you’re on the receiving end you’re going to feel hard done by. We lost plenty of spots and set the tone for our race but that’s how racing is sometimes.”
Title leader Feeney heads to Sandown with an 11-point margin and everything on the line.
“It has been a pretty good weekend overall I’d have to say, we weren’t off the podium at all over the weekend, which really leaves us in good stead heading to Sandown.
“The racing this weekend was so much fun, everyone really stepped it up with just two rounds left to go - you really felt the intensity lift pretty much from first practice!
“Next on the agenda is Sandown, where like here at The Bend, we won a race in the Toyotas last year.”
The Kumho Cup title battle will be another to go down to the wire with three drivers facing what is essentially a winner-take-all scenario at Sandown.
While Brad Neill stormed to a pair of victories in Saturday’s races – a spin in dicey conditions early in the Sunday decider saw the round result pivot to local hero, Chris Smerdon.
While Jim Pollicina won race three, it was Smerdon who took the round by two points over Neill with Pollicina third.
As a result, Neill now leads by just five points, with defending Kumho Cup class champion Pollicina third and only 20 points from the series lead.
Jason Gomersall also remains in contention, 91 points behind leader Neill heading to Sandown.
The final round of the Kumho Tyre Super 3 series will be contested at Sandown Raceway’s Shannons Nationals event on September 20-22.
For more on the series head to super3.com.au
KUMHO CUP STANDINGS: