Young driver Tom Sargent has kicked off his 2019 season in the best-possible fashion, winning the first round of the Australian Formula Ford Championship at Sydney Motorsport Park on the weekend.
Sargent ticked the first box when he set the fastest lap-time in Saturday morning’s qualifying session, scoring his first pole position in car racing.
“Qualifying had previously been one of my weaknesses, so to set the fastest time was a big confidence-booster for me,” Sargent said.
In Race 1, Sargent led every lap and was on target to win, when he came across a slower car on the run to the finish line on final lap. The delay was only a fraction of a second, but it was enough to relegate Sargent to second.
“I was cautious once I caught the slower traffic, and with the field being so tightly-bunched, it only took a very slight loss of speed to cost me the race,” Sargent said.
“It was a little disappointing, but I was determined to make up for it.”
And make up for it Sargent did, streaking away in Race 2 as he powered to his first race win at a national level.
“Race 2 was one of those races where everything went like clockwork,” Sargent said.
“The car felt fantastic and I loved leading from the front. Those sorts of races don’t happen very often, so you certainly enjoy them while you can.”
Sargent again led several laps of Race 3, but this time he was in a tight battle with two other cars for the entire race. After nine laps, he finished just 0.03s behind the race winner but scored enough points from the three races to win the weekend overall.
“It was a very close race and I was never able to relax, I was swapping positions with two other cars all the way through,” Sargent said.
“I’m absolutely stoked to break through for my first round win. It’s a big reward for my sponsors and family who have supported my progression from karts into car racing, and also Colin Hill, Cameron Hill and everyone else from my CHE Racing Team for giving me such a fast car.”
Sargent now finds himself leading the points in the series regarded as Australia’s premier junior development category, but the 17-year-old knows there’s a lot of hard work to come.
“I’m not getting ahead of myself – the level of competition over the weekend was very high, and there are still six rounds to go,” he said.
Sargent and his team now turn their attention to the Bathurst 6 Hour production car race on the Easter Long Weekend, where he will share a Toyota 86 with his Formula Ford team-mate Lachlan Mineeff.
Round Results Summary
Race 1: 2nd
Race 2: 1st
Race 3: 2nd
Top 10 Points – After Round 1
- Tom Sargent – 53
- Callum Hedge – 48
- Zac Soutar – 39
- Angelo Mouzouris – 35
- Jay Hanson – 32
- Courtney Prince – 32
- Lachlan Mineeff – 24
- Jake Donaldson – 23
- Cody Burcher – 21
- Harrison Goodman – 18