New South Welshman Tom Sargent broke through for his first race and round win this weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park, aboard his Tegra Australia backed Mygale SJ12.
The CHE Racing Team driver showed great pace when it mattered, placing himself on pole position for race one, just over one-tenth of a second clear of privateer Zac Soutar.
Sargent was looking good for a win in race one, maintaining the lead of the race until the very last lap, when Zac Soutar took advantage of lapped traffic on the last corner of the race to steal the first win of the season. The duo took the chequered flag just four-hundredths of a second apart, in typical Formula Ford fashion. 2018 New Zealand Formula Ford champion Callum Hedge rounded out the podium.
Race two started with an additional warm-up lap and was shortened to five laps, due to Jason Liddell's Swift having a mechanical issue during the out-lap. Tom Sargent, who started from the front row, battled with Soutar for the lead, eventually passing him at turn six on lap three. Sargent then edged away to claim his maiden Australian Formula Ford victory by just over a second. While Sargent drove away, Soutar had to push hard to stay ahead of a hard-charging Hedge. The New Zealander once again crossed the line in third, a mere five-hundredths of a second behind Soutar.
Callum Hedge achieved his maiden Australian Formula Ford win in race three, after a hard-fought battle with Sargent and Soutar in the opening laps. Sargent delivered another fantastic result, finishing second by a whisker. Soutar, who took the flag in third, was given a 30-second penalty for an apparel infringement, relegating him down to 10th place. This elevated Angelo Mouzouris to round out the podium, after the Sonic driver engaged in a wheel-to-wheel battle with team-mate Courtney Prince and CHE driver Lachlan Mineeff. Liam McLellan dropped back through the field after an incident involving Jake Donaldson and Cody Burcher on the opening lap, but managed to bring his Spectrum home in 11th position.
In the pack just behind the leaders, the racing was just as fierce. One hard-luck story to emerge from the weekend involved Cody Donald, who suffered an unlucky DNF in race one after contact with Lachlan Mineeff. Donald then started race two from the back of the grid and negotiated his way back through the field to finish 6th in race three.
Tom Sargent won the opening round on points, ahead of Callum Hedge and Zac Soutar.
"It was a really good round for us. We had car pace from the start and everything went in our favour. We had a bit of bad luck at the start of the weekend but we recovered and we came around with a race win" said Sargent at the end of the weekend.
"It’s a bit surreal at the moment, but I’m sure it will sink in. Being out with some of the best in Australia. It’s good to be up there contending with them" beamed Sargent before thanking his supporters.
Sargent currently leads the 2019 Australian Formula Ford Championship as the series prepares for round two at Queensland Raceway on May 4-5.
2019 AFFC Standings (top 10)
1st - Thomas Sargent - 53pts
2nd - Callum Hedge - 48pts
3rd - Zac Soutar - 39pts
4th - Angelo Mouzouris - 35pts
5th - Jay Hanson - 32pts
6th - Courtney Prince - 32pts
7th - Lachlan Mineeff - 24pts
8th - Jake Donaldson - 23pts
9th - Cody Burcher - 21pts
10th - Harrison Goodman - 18pts
2019 AFFC calendar
Round 1: April 5-7 Sydney Motorsport Park (NSW) - NSW State Championship
Round 2: May 3-5 Queensland Raceway (QLD) - RACERS
Round 3: May 24-26 Winton Motor Raceway (Vic) - Supercars
Round 4: June 21-23 The Bend Motorsport Park (SA) - AMRS
Round 5: July 19-21 Sandown Raceway (Vic) - Vic State Championship
Round 6: September 6-8 Wakefield Park Raceway (NSW) - NSW State Championship
Round 7: September 27-29 Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit (Vic) - Vic State Championship