Aussies grab early F5000 advantage
Australian drivers Tom Tweedie (Chevron B24) and Bryan Sala (Matich A50/51) have grabbed an early advantage after the first two rounds of this season’s SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series.
Sala, from Melbourne, claimed pole position and won the first two races at the opening round in Perth in October while Sydneysider Tom Tweedie claimed a clean sweep (pole and three race wins) at the second in Melbourne in November.
Aucklander Grant Martin (Talon MR1A) has so far proved the best of the Kiwis, winning two of the four races at the opening round at the Shannons Perth Classic meeting then adding a fourth and two fifths at the Historic Sandown meeting a fortnight later.
Though he did not make the trip to Perth, Tweedie more than made up for it at the Melbourne meeting, the 28-year-old former Formula 3 and Carrera Cup regular’s pole time (1:06:6997) over a second quicker than that of second fastest qualifier Tim Berryman (Lola T332) from Wagga Wagga, and almost two seconds quicker than Bryan Sala’s who was third.
It was a similar story in the three races, Tweedie winning the first – on Saturday – by over 18 seconds from visiting UK driver Greg Thornton (Chevron B24) and the second – on Sunday morning – by just over 19 seconds from Tim Berryman.
With little time to practise at the Sandown circuit before a 15 minute qualifying session it was always going to be a struggle for the Kiwis to get up to speed with the top local drivers at the Melbourne meeting.
Despite that Grant Martin was never far from Sala and fellow Melbournite Andrew Robson (Lola T330/2), while Brett Willis from Rotorua (Lola T330), and Glenn Richards (Lola T400) and Aaron Burson (McRae GM1) from Auckland enjoyed a weekend-long battle for mid-field transTasman bragging rights with Australian counterparts Darcy Russell (Lola T330), and Elfin stablemates Bill Hemming and Max Pearson.
The SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series now heads back ‘home’ with rounds at Hampton Downs and the Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park (Taupo) in January and the annual Skope Classic meeting at Christchurch’s Mike Pero Motorsport Park in early February.
The inaugural Trans-Tasman Trophy will go to the team which scores the most points over the first four rounds, Perth and Melbourne in Australia, and Hampton Downs and Taupo in New Zealand.
Tom Tweedie (#2 Chevron B24) leading Tim Berryman (Lola T332) at Sandown.