Former National Champion Jac Preston took on the second round of the Rotax Pro Tour at Eastern Creek Kart Track in NSW. Preston after coming away with a strong podium finish in third spot at the opening round earlier this year was looking to continue his strong form and grab a good haul of points to his championship.
Preston headed out for qualifying and in a fast paced session, he was able to put his 43 Tom Williamson Motorsport backed entry out of position six just outside the top five. Preston was disappointed with his qualifying and heat 1 was the main focus to make up positions and work on the karts overall pace in a fast field.
Heat 1 come around and Preston was away cleanly staying in sixth spot before making a move into the top five on the second lap. Preston continued to make pace and progress as he was then able to make a move into position four on lap five. Up to fourth and Preston was on the hunt to make his way into the top three and with a few laps to go Preston made a move into the top three finishing there in a good step forward from qualifying.
Preston in heat 2 again starting from position six wasn’t able to make up any spots coming home in position six with the top six only being separated by 4.5 seconds and Preston’s fastest lap only 0.06 of the fastest lap showing how close the top of the field was. Preston jumped away well in heat three getting up to fourth position before trouble struck the former national champion. With all drivers on slick tyres on a wet track, Preston made a costly mistake causing a DNF for the young driver.
Heat 4 came around and after the DNF the race before Preston was looking to make a clean finish and make progress. With a clean start, Preston was in position seven quickly moving up to position six in quick time. Preston got within a few tenths of the top five before finishing in position six and grabbing more points before the pre final.
Preston jumped away cleanly and was straight into the top three and looking strong. Preston got shuffled back a couple of spots to the end of top five before getting his head back down and setting fastest laps at times during the race. Preston was able to make a move back up into fourth spot and finish there putting himself in a good starting spot for the final.
Preston jumped away cleanly in the final and was straight in a battle for position five in the opening few laps. Preston managed to get back up into fourth and went in chase of the top three looking for a podium position. In what was a fast pace extremely close final Preston was able to get within 0.2 seconds of third spot and only 2.7 seconds behind the winner as he crossed the line in fourth spot just missing the podium in a good fight back after a heat race DNF.
Preston was overall happy with the weekend but put a poor qualifying down to hurting his weekend. “Qualifying we didn’t have a good setup but as the heats went on we improved the kart. By the final, we were on the pace but it’s such a hard track to pass at”. Preston also noted the three drivers ahead of him all tested at the recent shakedown event and not having that data hurt him. The former national champion will next be on track at the second round of the Australian Kart Championship in Newcastle.