Samantha ReidSouth Australian driver Samantha Reid will be hoping to use some familiar circuit characteristics to her advantage in this weekend’s penultimate round of the 2006 Australian Formula Ford Championship at Symmons Plains Raceway.

The circuit just outside of Launceston, in Tasmania, shares a number of similarities with Reid’s home circuit of Mallala Raceway near Adelaide – a fact both team and driver is keen to exploit this weekend.

19-year-old Reid is hoping that her strong run at her home event in August – where she showed top five potential despite suffering misfortune in the races – will see similarly strong results in the Apple Isle this weekend.

Reid had a shocking run of fortune at her home round, the most recent of the championship, suffering three non-finishes after posting her career best practice and qualifying results in this year’s competitive National Formula Ford field.

Naturally the driver nicknamed ‘Samy’ is hoping for a change of luck when she makes her first visit to Tasmania this weekend, behind the wheel of her #42 BMS Motorsport Van Diemen RF03.

“From what I have seen so far, Symmons Plains shares a couple of things with Mallala which could well be a positive for us,” she said.

“The heavy braking zone into the hairpin is similar to what we encounter at Mallala, as is the fast sweeping bend in the back straight that should see plenty of drafting – again similar to Mallala.

“Our car was the best it’s been all season at our home round so we’re hoping that the similarities between the circuits pay off for us this weekend.”

With this weekend’s event the first time the Formula Ford field has visited Tasmania for 10 years, Reid said that the level playing field will be another aid towards giving the team a strong weekend.

“Everywhere we’ve gone this year, we have been on the back foot trying to develop the setup and sort the car because we have only been to one or two circuits,” Reid explained.

“The other teams have been able to come out of the box and be quick from first practice because they have the budget to go and test. Symmons Plains should be different because everyone will have a level playing field. No one has been allowed to test here so everyone in the field will be in the same boat as us – having to sort out gear ratios and suspension settings from essentially scratch.”

Reid also predicted that this weekend’s event could well be the closest of the year, a small yet competitive field descending on a circuit that is renowned for producing some of the tightest grids of the season anywhere in Australian Motorsport.

“I think it will be very tough,” she said.

“You could be fourth or you could be fourteenth – there are no particularly slow cars in the field so it should be very tight right throughout the field. It’s a horsepower circuit but with all the cars having the same engines there won’t be much in that.

“Qualifying will be hard work, but I’m confident in our ability to race with these guys after the progress we made in race one at Mallala (before being taken out). I don’t think a top five is out of the question if things go to plan.”

This weekend’s penultimate round of the 2006 Australian Formula Ford Championship will be held in conjunction with the V8 Supercar’s Ferodo Triple Challenge event, three races set to be contested before the series embarks for its season finale at Phillip Island in early December.

Samantha Reid has had a tough debut season on the National Championship campaign; however this weekend heads into the action the best prepared since the season opener in Adelaide – where she raced into the top ten.