Australian Formula Ford Championship contender Tom Sargent says he’s not allowing himself to be distracted by the close contest at the top of the points table, as the series heads to Sandown Raceway for Round 5 this weekend.

With three rounds and nine races remaining, Sargent sits second in the standings, just 14 points off the lead with each race awarding 20 points to the winner. But Sargent says he’s not focusing on the championship picture just yet.

“At the start of the year, my mentality was to focus on doing the best job I could in each individual race, and allowing the championship to take care of itself,” Sargent said.

“It’s good to be in contention for the title at this stage of the season, but our approach as a team hasn’t changed – we always aim to be the fastest in every race.”

In the previous round at The Bend Motorsport Park, Sargent finished second behind his CHE Racing team-mate Lachlan Mineeff, marking the team’s most successful weekend in the category. But the 17-year-old said Sandown will produce different challenges.

“The Bend has lots of fast corners where it’s all about flowing the car, but Sandown is made up of long straights connected by slow turns,” Sargent said.

“In saying that, there is one fast corner – Turn 6, at the end of the back straight. When I raced there last year, I held my breath going through that corner, because the track drops downhill and the wall on the right is very close!

“Because of the long straights, Sandown is typically a circuit where there’s lots of slipstreaming and overtaking, and often the race winner isn’t decided until the very last lap.”

This weekend’s action will consist of practice on Friday, qualifying and Race 1 on Saturday, and Races 2 and 3 on Sunday.