Categories: General Date: Aug 19, 2019 Title: TITLE BATTLE HEADS TO PENULTIMATE ROUND AT THE BENDONE of the most competitive title battles in the sport will continue to build when the Kumho Tyre Super 3 series returns to South Australia’s The Bend Motorsport Park and the OTR SuperSprint this weekend.
The penultimate round of the 2019 series will see an 18-car field continue to battle out what has become one of the most competitive championship races of the season – in any category.
Teenager Broc Feeney leads fellow young-gun Jayden Ojeda in the standings by just 13 points with the pair having finished first and second, respectively, last time out at Queensland Raceway.
Feeney’s consistency has seen him finish on the podium in every round so far this year, while Ojeda stunned the establishment by winning the two most recent weekends at Winton and Queensland Raceway.
Feeney, who races for former Bathurst winner Paul Morris, has a slight advantage over his nearest title rival in that he has already tasted success at The Bend prior to making his Super 3 series debut at the venue.
“I raced there in the Toyota 86s last year and got my first win – so I’ve got a bit of history there and I’m looking back and getting a few more,” he said.
“Our approach isn’t changing – I’ll be going for the same as always and trying to win some races.”
Ojeda’s rise up the championship order has been one of the stories of the season, racing with the privateer Anderson Motorsport outfit in his debut season in a tin-top.
The 19-year-old from Sydney says he’s looking forward to a ‘new experience’ at the challenging, nearly five kilometre long circuit.
“It’s an amazing track, I’ve done a bit of work there driver coaching. The facilities are crazy, I haven’t driven there too much – it’s not like other tracks where I’ve raced in other categories so it will be a completely new experience for me and a few of the other boys as well – so it will be interesting to see how it plays out.”
118 points cover the top six drivers in the championship, with each remaining in contention ahead of the final two rounds – six races – of the year.
The consistent Hamish Ribarits holds third in the standings, 38 points behind Feeney, while his MW Motorsport teammate Zak Best is a further eight points back in fourth.
The Benalla-based teenager has battled through a season filled with misfortune where otherwise he has been amongst the fastest drivers on the track.
Best won the first two races at Winton before mechanical failure saw him fail to finish the third race in round two – costing him not only the race win, but a spot on the round podium all together.
He was in an identical position at Queensland Raceway last time out; scoring pole and winning races one and two before early contact in race three saw his car suffer broken steering and once again fail to finish in a case of history repeating.
As such, his five race wins are the most of any driver however non-finishes in the critical third race – which offers 60 points to win compared to 40 each for races one and two – have cost him significantly in the championship standings.
Nic Carroll – in the third MW Motorsport Falcon – and Brad Jones Racing’s Josh Fife complete the six that remain in contention for the championship with two rounds remaining.
The intensity in the outright title battle is mirrored in the Kumho Cup, for Pro-Am competitors.
Reigning class champion Jim Pollicina leads the way, though the ex-Tasman Motorsport VE Commodore driver holds a narrow seven-point lead over Brad Neill. Local hero Chris Smerdon sits third, a further seven points further back.
Smerdon, who raced regularly at Mallala and the Adelaide 500 as a Supercars privateer, will be one of two local drivers racing in front of their friends and family this weekend.
Young-gun Joel Heinrich will make his Kumho Super 3 series debut aboard a Matt Stone Racing-prepared Falcon FG.
The former Aussie Racing Car ace gained experience in Dunlop Super 2 earlier this year and looks to close out the season in Super 3 this year.
The second-generation driver is the son of noted South Australian champion Bruce, an expert in HQ Holden and Saloon Car competition for many years.
2019 marks the second visit of the Kumho Super 3 series to the OTR SuperSprint at The Bend: the venue hosting a climactic 2018 title decider between Best and eventual champion, Tyler Everingham.
While Everingham won the round, Best scored pole and won race two and is the only driver in the top six of the standings to have raced at Supercar at the circuit.
After two practice sessions on Friday, Qualifying and two races will comprise a packed schedule on Saturday at the OTR SuperSprint. The deciding third race will be held Sunday, with qualifying and all three races to be shown live on FOX Sports 506 and Kayo Sports.
ENTRY LIST - ROUND 4
|2||Kumho Cup||Page Bros Jayco||Steven Page||VIC||Commodore|
|4||Kumho Cup||Crusher Parts International||Tony Auddino||VIC||Ford Falcon|
|5||Championship||MW Motorsport||Hamish Ribarits||VIC||Ford Falcon|
|7||Kumho Cup||Mocomm Motorsports Communications||Jim Pollicina||NSW||Commodore|
|8||Championship||Brad Jones Racing||Madeline Stewart||NZ||Commodore|
|9||Kumho Cup||Neill Motorsport||Bradley Neill||QLD||Ford Falcon|
|11||Championship||Anderson Motorsport||Jayden Ojeda||NSW||Ford Falcon|
|12||Championship||Image Racing||Matt McLean||VIC||Ford Falcon|
|14||Championship||Brad Jones Racing||Josh Fife||ACT||Commodore|
|16||Championship||Osborn's Transport||Joel Heinrich||SA||Ford Falcon|
|23||Kumho Cup||HF Racing||Francois Habib||VIC||Commodore|
|35||Kumho Cup||Matt Stone Racing||Jason Gomersall||QLD||Ford Falcon|
|39||Kumho Cup||Vectra Corp||Chris Smerdon||SA||Ford Falcon|
|48||Championship||MW Motorsport||Nic Carroll||VIC||Ford Falcon|
|67||Championship||Exit Timeshare Now Racing||Broc Feeney||QLD||Ford Falcon|
|69||Championship||Dial Before You Dig/Mac Motorsport||Jon McCorkindale||NSW||Ford Falcon|
|78||Championship||MW Motorsport||Zak Best||VIC||Ford Falcon|
|96||Kumho Cup||Protrack Automotive Performance||Gary Collins||VIC||Commodore|