Teenage stars go neck and neck

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Motorsport - STU­ART INNES

BEN Barker, driv­ing with Ade­laide’s Team BRM, has won the 2010 Aus­tralian Driv­ers Cham­pi­onship — ef­fec­tively by five hun­dredths of a sec­ond af­ter 21 races.

Barker, from the UK, and fel­low teenager rac­ing with Team BRM, Mitch Evans of New Zealand, have ended the cham­pi­onship on 220 and 219 points re­spec­tively.

Af­ter Barker crashed in race two of the sev­enth and fi­nal round at Sandown last Sun­day the Aus­tralian Driv­ers Cham­pi­onship — raced by For­mula 3 cars — came down to the last race of their year. In that fi­nal race, Barker was back in fourth place while Evans was in sec­ond spot, which would mean a points tie.

The only way ei­ther could get an edge on the cham­pi­onship points was to go for the sin­gle bonus point given for fastest lap of the race. Barker took this strat­egy in­stead of scrap­ping for third place.

‘‘I dropped back, put my head down and went for it,’’ he says of the at­tempt at fastest lap.

He man­aged a lap of 1min 9.656sec while Evans, too, was try­ing to put in a rip­per.

Barker’s best lap pre­vailed by .05sec.

Third in the cham­pi­onship was Tom Tweedie on 208 points, mak­ing it the tight­est win­ning mar­gin ever in the se­ries.

Barker’s wins in three out of three races at Team BRM’s home track at Mal­lala, South Aus­tralia, in May turned out to be vi­tal.

Mean­while, Aus­tralia’s For­mula One hope­ful John Martin has won two of the three races in the fi­nal 2010 Su­per­league For­mula, in Spain, in­clud­ing tak­ing the 100,000 Euro (about $A140,000) cash prize for win­ning the Su­per­Fi­nal, as he did in the UK early in the sea­son.

Martin, 26, from Queens­land, raced the Bei­jing Guoan FC car run by Alan Dock­ing Rac­ing for first place in Race 1, came from 18th to sixth in the re­verse-grid Race 2 and won the Su­per­Fi­nal for the top six driv­ers sprint­ing over six laps for the big cash.

The 2006 Aus­tralian For­mula Ford Cham­pion has fin­ished ninth in the 2010 Su­per­league points but fourth in prize money.

Nar­row mar­gin: Ben Barker (left) and Mitch Evans fin­ished the For­mula 3 cham­pi­onship only one point apart.

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