Saturday, Mar 16 02:30pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Yardley, Cockerton podium in Australian Formula 4

Ryan Yardley and Taylor Cockerton have both finished on the podium in Race 2 of the PAYCE Australian Formula 4 Championship in Melbourne.


Yardley started from pole position but couldn’t keep the lead as recent Toyota Racing Series debutant Thomas Smith took the spot into Turn 1.


Antonio Astuti took advantage of a slow run out of Turn 2 as well and dropped Yardley another place down to third.


There was drama down the order as Jayden Ojeda locked up int Turn 3, clipped Ryan Suhle and subsequently saw Luis Leeds and Holmes get caught out.


The race was brought under control by the safety car as the cars were removed. The race restarted on lap two but didn’t stay green for long.


Yardley got a good run out of the final corned and displaced Astuti into Turn 1, but the Kiwi ran wide onto the grass and fell back behind to third.


Once again, there was chaos behind. Jackson Burton was lucky to miss an out of control Josh Smith, who completed a 360-degree spin through Turn 1 before he ended up in the tyre wall. Again, the race went full course yellow.


The final restart teed up a one-lap showdown for the podium. Thomas Smith led the field to the green with Astuti behind. While they created a gap, a slightly wounded Yardley defended from Cockerton and Lachie Hughes.


Yardley defended through the sweeper that led up to Turn 11 and put Cockerton onto the grass. That opened the door to Hughes who went side-by-side with Cockerton through Turn 12. Fortunately for the Kiwi, Hughes got stuck out on the grass and lost the spot.


Meanwhile, at the front of the field, Smith headed into the final sector. It looked like he had it sown up, but heading into the penultimate corner Astuti launched down the inside and stole the spot. Smith ran wide, which allowed both Yardley and Cockerton to fly through.


Astuti didn’t leave Smith much room and that might be his undoing if a post-race investigation is launched. That could still award Yardley the win.


It’s a strong follow up for Yardley and Cockerton who finished 10th and seventh respectively in Race 1 at the Australian Grand Prix. 


CAMS PAYCE Australian Formula 4 Race 2 

Pos    Driver Laps/Diff
1 Antonio Astuti 5 laps
2 Ryan Yardley +0.7216
3 Taylor Cockerton    +1.4240
4 Thomas Smith +1.5630
5 Lochie Hughes +1.8223
6 Jackson Walls +2.2787
7 Dylan Thomas +3.0197
8 Ryan Suhle +5.4189
9 Luis Leeds +5.8117
10 Jackson Burton +7.4072
11 Brenton Grigoul +9.5333
12 Heath Collinson  +9.8060
13 Christian Lester  +11.9692
14 Emerson Harvey  +13.6145
15 Aareon Zerefos  +17.2596
DNF Josh Smith  2 laps
DNF Jayden Ojeda  1 lap
DNF Matt Holmes  1 lap


Photo: Dan Thompson