British driver Ben Clucas proved at Phillip Island a month ago that he only needs the smallest amount of time to win a Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship race – in that case .0031s.

This weekend at Adelaide’s Mallala Raceway, Clucas proved that he only needs the last thirty seconds of Qualifying to take the top spot in Qualifying after a stunning performance saw him score two last-minute pole positions at the 2.6km circuit today

The Team BRM driver bumped Tim Macrow off the top spot in this morning’s opening qualifying session just as the checkered flag flew, before doing exactly the same thing to Michael Trimble in the second session with a slightly more leisurely 30 seconds to go.

The stunning performance netted Clucas his fifth and sixth pole positions of the season and added a further two points to his championship lead.

“Obviously I’m very happy,” Clucas enthused this afternoon.

“Generally we have lost a little compared to the others in the second qualifying session of the race weekend so it’s very satisfying to be able to get both pole positions today.

“We made lots of changes to the car between the sessions and the car was very good in second Qualifying.

“Having Michael (Trimble) third in the first race will be a help, but after turn one everything is different so it’s hard to know what will happen tomorrow.” He said.

Victorian Tim Macrow was the man bumped at the flag in the first session today, the 22-year-old coming just seconds away from scoring his first pole of the year after holding the top spot for a majority of the 20-minute session.

The recently-signed Scud Racing driver posted a strong third-best time in the second session (less than three tenths from pole) to prepare himself well for a front running challenge tomorrow.

“We should have done the last three laps in qualifying two, but we didn’t. That was the difference between us, Clucas and Trimble.” he said after giving Scud Racing their first ever Front row starting position today.

“Those last few laps were the key ones that dropped us from pole. The car is really good though and I think we can challenge tomorrow.”

After posting quickest time yesterday, Michael Trimble missed out on scoring his second pole for the season this afternoon by just .0416s – the second closest qualifying margin, between first and second, of the season.

Trimble was the only person aside from Ben Clucas to break into the 1m03-second bracket today and despite scoring third for the opening race proved that he will once again be a key contender this weekend aboard his #10 Astuti Motorsport / King Springs Dallara.

Leanne Tander and Chris Gilmour will each have a turn at starting on the second row of the grid tomorrow, Tander scoring fourth in the first qualifying session whilst a continually improving Gilmour scored the place in the second.

The Appearance of former Australian Formula Ford Rookie of the Year Stuart Kostera has added some additional spice into the National Class battle this weekend, the PHR Scuderia driver missing the class pole by 1/100th in the first session before beating championship leader Ricky Occhipinti by a similar margin later in the day.

Kostera – running the Maher Algadri owned Dallara F301 Mugen this weekend before an anticipated step into championship class for the next round – was happy with his performances.

“This will be my first Open Wheel start in about four years,” he said today.

“The car got better as the day moved on. We are still trying to work out what it likes and how to make it go faster so there is plenty more to come from both the car and the driver.”

Fellow National Class contender Tim Berryman endured a difficult day today, failing to set a time in the second qualifying session this afternoon thanks to gearbox problems.

“The car stuck between gears on the out lap,” The Wagga Wagga-based driver said.

“It’s a shame because we were looking to improve further. It’s been going well so far considering I hadn’t even seen the circuit before yesterday.”

Graeme Holmes led a similarly competitive Trophy Class field, scoring a pair of pole positions – ahead of Bill Maddocks and Rod Anderson respectively – today.

The fourth round of the 2006 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star will be contested over two, 20 lap races at Mallala Raceway tomorrow.

For more information please visit www.formula3.com.au