The final three races of the season will decide both the Kent and Duratec classes Champions for the season.
2016 finishes where it started – at the 2.2km Wakefield Park in Goulburn, but unlike championship deciders of years gone by, this one has an added twist, with the presence of the drivers from the National series on the grid for the second time in 2016.
In the Duratec Class, Lachlan Gibbons has been the man to beat the whole way, but missing the previous round, and retiring from Race 1 in Round 2 means that he is NOT the leader of the series coming into the Finale.
Jett Bennett, one of two debutants in the Duratec class this year, holds a 22-point lead over Gibbons coming into the finale, with Jake Donaldson sitting 42 points behind Bennett.
Given the nature of this round, there has been some confusion over the points distribution for the finale – today we can give you some clarity.
NSW series competitors will be awarded points based purely on where they finish in relation to each other, and not their outright finishing position. So while the drivers will finish in with the National series competitors, they will still be first, second and third in their state class, and be awarded the points for those positions accordingly.
Therefore, Jett Bennett is in the box seat. If the youngster finishes second to Gibbons all weekend, he’ll win the championship by six points. If he finishes third in one or two of the three races, he’ll sneak home by 2-4 points.
Gibbons needs to win all three races with the fastest lap to stand any chance of catching Bennett, but the series leader will have the added pressure of the presence of Ryan Pike to contend with, and therefore, there could well be a sting in the tail.
Pike’s finishing position in all three races is just as important as the finishing positions of Gibbons and Bennett. A win for Pike in any race is a win for Bennett, but if Pike finishes second to Gibbons, it’s advantage Gibbons.
Jake Donaldson is the long-shot in this championship decider. He is relying on Gibbons and Bennett to retire from at least one race, and then he would need to defeat them in the other two just to erase the 41-point deficit he has coming into the weekend.
Whilst it isn’t impossible – it’s likely that Donaldson will claim second or third in the 2016 Duratec Championship, which will go right down to the final race of 2016 on Sunday afternoon.
In the Kent Class – it’s a battle of the team-mates, with the trio from Anglo-Australian Motorsport vying for Championship supremacy this weekend.
Simon Hodges and Aaron Grech go into the finale TIED on points, while their team-mate Daniel Holihan is not far off the pace, and while it is unlikely he’ll win the title, he’s enjoying the build-up as the underdog in this fight.
That said, if Hodges or Grech slip-up, Holihan is hopeful of being the Steven Bradbury of Formula Ford – there to pick up the pieces.
As far as Grech and Hodges are concerned – they need to finish every race to give themselves the best opportunity of securing the title. One retirement, and it’s all over.
If they finish every race – it comes down to who’s scored the most points in three races – and if they finish first and second in those three races (as we suspect they might), the driver who wins two of the three claims the title.
It’s a round of the National series as well, which adds another element to the drama this weekend – extra traffic. The championship contenders will potentially have to deal with national series competitors being involved in their on-track fight for position, which will benefit some drivers, and hinder others.
Leanne Tander leads the national series coming into this round, and a 23-strong field will contest Round 4 of 6 this weekend.
All the drama will unfold across two big days of actions at Goulburn’s Wakefield Park Raceway, and the only place where you’ll catch a replay of the lot, is right here on Zak Sports.