Mathew Hart has joined the illustrious list of race winners in the Australian Formula Ford Championship, taking out Race 2 at the 2012 Formula 1 QANTAS Australian Grand Prix.
The Synergy Motorsport driver qualified on pole position on Thursday and finished second in Friday’s opening race, but went one better in a Safety Car-affected second race.
Hart was part of a three-car battle at the head of the field, fighting for top spot with Race 1 victor Jack LeBrocq and Garry Jacobson.
LeBrocq and Hart shared the lead throughout the eight-lap race, and after two Safety Car periods – for separate incidents that accounted for Macauley Jones, Ash Quiddington and Rhett Noonan – the stage was set for a two-lap dash to the chequered flag.
However, Liam Sager found the wall on the outside of the final corner before the restart and the race finished behind the Safety Car. It saw Hart cruise to his first win – and the first for the new Spectrum 014 chassis – ahead of LeBrocq and Jacobson.
“I can’t believe it,” admitted Hart, the 2011 rookie of the year.
“It’s come together so well after a very short pre-season test, only doing a handful of laps in the new car before we came here. But everyone’s working extremely well together, the car’s been awesome and it makes it a lot easier when it’s all working for you.
“It’s so hard to break each other’s tow with all of the long straights here. In the fight with Jack and Garry, I managed to break it on the restart but then another Safety Car came out before the final lap. It would’ve been interesting to see how it turned out if there was a one-lap dash but fortunately the Safety Car came back out so I didn’t have to find out – I could come across the line nice and easily.
“It’s an awesome feeling.”
Having latched onto the back of the lead battle, Jonathon Venter was fourth, ahead of Sam Power, Scott Andrews and Simon Hodge. Tom Goess, Jake Fouracre and Dylan Richter completed the Top 10.
The final Formula Ford race at Albert Park kicks off at 12:50pm tomorrow, Sunday.