australian-f3-season-finale-2006Sydney fans of top-level Open Wheel racing will receive a treat should they head to the final round of the 2006 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship to be held at Oran Park Raceway this weekend.

A strong contingent of 18 cars has entered for the eighth and final round of the 2006 championship to be held at the 2.7km Narellan circuit on October 27 – 29, and most entered have plenty to play for to ensure off season bragging rights in the lead up to next season in what is set to be a no-holes-barred contest for glory.

And despite the fact that British driver Ben Clucas has already sealed the championship, the pressure will remain on at the front of the pack in a competitive bunch of cars entered for this weekend’s event.

A group of five New South Wales-based drivers will be headed up by North Shore (Sydney) resident Chris Alajajian, who will return to the category to complete an on-off year following a strong run in the most recent rounds of the Fujitsu V8 Supercar series.

Alajajian last drove a Formula 3 car at Eastern Creek in July this year and, after racing at his usual aggressive best, the Jack Hillermans Smash driver finds himself keen to once again get back in the Open Wheel groove after his foray into Touring Cars.

“It’s been a couple of months since I drove an F3 car, so I’m looking forward getting back in one; they’re great cars to drive,” Alajajian said.

“It’s our home round so we’re just going to go there, fight really hard, do our best and see what happens.

“You can never get too head over heels about predicting something, but I’m confident that with my experience we will be capable of getting a good result by the end of the weekend. Oran Park is a great, fun track to race on. I’ve raced there a few times in different cars, but every time you race a different type of car there, it almost becomes a different track.”

The other New South Wales-based Championship Class contender will be will be Matt Sofi (Championship Class Dallara F301), whilst Tim Berryman and Chris Barry represent the state in the National Class championship-within-a-championship points’ battle.

Fleetcare Tandersport driver – and former Sydneysider – Leanne Tander is riding a wave of form at the moment and will head into the Oran Park round on the back of her season-best performance at Phillip Island in late August.

Despite missing the most recent round at Queensland Raceway thanks to the clash with the Sandown 500, Tander heads to Oran Park confident that her first ever race win in the category is just around the corner.

The pitched battle at the front of the field will be joined by the champion, Team BRM’s Ben Clucas, and Victorian Tim Macrow – who will once again drive the Cooltemp Racing Dallara F304 he steered to his first ever Formula 3 race win in Queensland.

Macrow has his eyes on second in the championship points’ race, the 22-year-old driver currently trailing Michael Trimble by 35 points heading into the final round.

Queensland hope Chris Gilmour – the most recent winner of a Formula 3 race at Oran Park – and West Aussie Stuart Kostera are both coming off season-best performances at the most recent round of the championship and head to the Oran Park round looking to battle with the key championship contenders.

This weekend’s action will once again feature the usual three classes that partake in the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship action, two new drivers – former V8 Supercar driver Garth Walden and Daniel Schultz – set to add some additional depth into the National Class entry list this weekend.

Wagga Wagga’s Tim Berryman head’s into the round with second place in the National Class in the bag, whilst Chris Barry will be looking to bounce back after failing to score any points at Queensland Raceway two months ago.

A championship battle is still well and truly alive in the trophy class fight, Lauren Gray holding off a charging Graeme Holmes by just eight points – with 44 up for grabs across this weekend’s two races.

The final round of the 50th Anniversary Australian Drivers Championship for the CAMS Gold Star – the highest accolade presented to an Open Wheel Racing Driver in Australia – will get underway at Oran Park this Friday before two, 15-lap events Sunday.