Making his CAMS PAYCE Australian Formula 4 Championship debut last weekend at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Victoria with the AGI Sports team, speedway racer Ardie Jonic exceeded expectations throughout the second championship round, delivering an encouraging performance.
Travelling to the world class track from his home in Ipswich, Queensland, Jonic thoroughly enjoyed his introduction to circuit racing, giving much credit to the AGI Sports team, who he worked closely with throughout the weekend, giving and receiving feedback, and going over data, which is something he hasn’t previously experienced during his speedway career.
Proving that he wasn’t just making up the numbers, Jonic was on the pace from the outset, with his lap times being just 1.8 seconds shy of the leader in his second practice session, and while the weekend wasn’t without its challenges, mainly which revolved around setup issues, Jonic and his team were pleased with his overall performance.
“The aim heading into the weekend was just to be as competitive as possible and pick up some valuable experience, and I think we were definitely able to achieve that,” commented the well-spoken 15-year-old racer, who had only completed three test sessions prior to the weekend’s event.
“I couldn’t speak highly enough of the entire AGI Sports teams, who made it easier for me to achieve a positive debut. It was absolutely great to finally get out on track in a competition setting and I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can achieve in future rounds as we build up our experience.”
Getting the weekend underway with a ninth-place finish in both of his practice sessions on Friday, Jonic struggled slightly in Saturday’s first qualifying sessions due to some setup discrepancies, placing just outside of the top 10 in 11th; however, his first race gave him the opportunity to show off his driving skills.
Hitting his marks on the standing start, Jonic powered forward to pass three cars by the first corner, only to be forced to run off the track in the second corner in order to avoid a collision ahead of him. With a number of setup changes still being required to suit Jonic and his driving style, he managed to come home 10th in race one.
Returning to the track on Sunday for race two, Jonic continued his impressive debut, battling with his more experienced counterparts for seventh place after passing a number of cars and making solid progress, eventually coming away with ninth place, before scoring another 10th-place result in his third and final race.
While the third round of the CAMS PAYCE Australian Formula 4 Championship isn’t for another six weeks, being held at Queensland Raceway (Qld) from July 20-22, Jonic will be back on track in a fortnight to contest the National Junior Sedan Title at Darwin’s Northline Speedway (NT) from June 28-30, where he’ll be hoping to go one better than last season, having placed second.
One week later on July 7, Jonic will attempt to defend his Northern Territory Junior Sedan Title at Katherine Speedway.
“With this season having been interrupted due to my injury earlier this year, I’m really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel,” added Jonic.
“I’m hoping that my time out of the driver’s seat hasn’t affected me too much and that I can still be in contention to win the National Title, as well as hopefully going back to back in the Northern Territory Title.”
Jonic would like to give special thanks to his nan and pop (Surelle and Lubo) for their support and for making racing a possibility for him.
To find out more about Jonic and his team, LIKE them on Facebook by searching Ardie Jonic Racing Team #50.