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|Hodge leads South Australian invasion on Queensland|
|31 Jul 2012 20:55|
Rookie of the Year contender Simon Hodge is looking to capitalise on his last start podium, as the fifth round of the Australian Formula Ford Championship hits Queensland Raceway this weekend.
Last time out on the streets of Townsville, Adelaide based Hodge broke through for his maiden national level overall podium, following a second placing and two thirds from the three heats.
"I loved it, it's a great track, and we managed to get a really good set up to suit it," Hodge said. "Fortunately in the races I was able to use the speed to the best of my ability to get a good result. It doesn't necessarily raise the expectations, but it does give me a lot of confidence now that I know I can race at the front of the field, and mix it with the Championship leaders."
Throughout his first year on the national circuit, many of the tracks are an unknown quantity for the Team BRM driver, with Queensland Raceway being no exception.
"I think QR is a fairly basic layout, but because of that you have to get every corner 100% right to be a front runner. I'm really looking forward to getting there and carry on the momentum. As I've moved on through the season, I've been working on improving my race craft and slip streaming, which is so important around Queensland Raceway."
Hodge's outstanding result in the north has closed the gap to Rookie of the Year standings leader, and fellow South Australian Sam Power, to only five points at the halfway mark of the season.
Power himself will be riding a wave of confidence on his return to Queensland, after claiming third overall to Hodge in Townsville, also a personal best result.
The South Australian assault doesn't end there, with Luke Fraser making his national level debut after strong showings in state level racing at Mallala Motor Sport Park, while Adelaide based Dylan Richter returns to the Championship after making his debut at the Australian Grand Prix in March.
Chairman's Cup Race Heats Up in Queensland
A solid contingent of contenders are set to line up this weekend for the Chairman's Cup at Queensland Raceway, with the racing within the Australian Formula Ford Championship expected to be spirited.
Designed to assist drivers in stepping up from state to national level racing, the Chairman's Cup offers discounted entry fees, as well as a separate point score structure.
A total of six drivers have taken the opportunity to nominate Queensland Raceway as one of the two events in which they wish to score points, with many of the competitors using the round as a warm up for the return of the Championship to Bathurst in October.
While Sydneysider Jonathon Venter currently leads the point score, Queenslander Matt Campbell sits in second place after an impressive debut at Townsville, with the Warwick based driver looking for a big result on the freshly resurfaced track.
One driver out to make an impression will be Ash Quiddington, who makes his return to national competition after debuting at the Australian Grand Prix in March. No stranger to Queensland Raceway, the former Formula Vee competitor has had a learning season in 2012, with the Melbourne based driver impressive in Victorian state level Formula Ford competition.
"I raced at Queensland Raceway last year at the national Formula Vee round. I managed to get pole in qualifying and in the final race I came second with the fastest lap," Quiddington said.
"I can't wait to get to Queensland, since the Grand Prix I've got a lot more experience in the Formula Ford. I've done a lot of serious testing, and having a strong field to race against is great. I like the track, there's plenty of overtaking and slipstreaming the whole way around the circuit.
"The bumps were so severe in a Formula Vee; I'd hate to think what they would have been like in a Formula Ford. I think that the changes to the track surface will make things even more interesting."
At Queensland Raceway, Quiddington will be reunited with his Borland Racing Developments team mate Shae Davies, a driver with extensive Formula Ford experience on the 3.1km long circuit.
"Shae is a great team mate to have. He has really been trying to help me out, especially overlaying data and giving some pointers."
The Australian Formula Ford Championship will be seen in action on all three days of on track activity at Queensland Raceway, with three races scheduled over Saturday and Sunday in support of the Coates Hire Ipswich 300.
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