Kiwis flock to support Cressey

Published: Thu 19 Sep 2002 10:18 AM
Impressed by the close, exciting Formula 3 racing they are seeing on Sunday afternoon motorsport show Shell Helix Motorsport, Kiwi fans are flocking to support young Auckland racing driver James Cressey.
Cressey heads to the famous Phillip Island circuit east of Melbourne this weekend for the penultimate round of the 2002 Australian Formula 3 Championship comfortable in the knowledge that thousands of Kiwi motorsport fans will be waiting expectantly for the two races to be screened on television back home.
Since TV1 started screening rounds of the 2002 Australian Formula 3 Championship, interest in Cressey's exploits has skyrocketed.
The 18-year-old drew wide praise for his masterful win in the 2000/2001 New Zealand Formula Ford championship but Australia's Formula 3 championship was very much an unknown quantity when he embarked on his 2002 campaign.
The success of both Scott Dixon and Simon Wills meant that Kiwi fans knew about Formula Holden. Little, however, was known about Formula 3.
The excellent coverage of the the 2002 Australian championship has changed all that, particularly over the past month.
Cressey's dynamic drive through the field in the second race at the Wakefield Park round had Kiwi enthusiasts on the edge of their seats, several contacting members of the young driver's family to tell them that it was the best racing they had EVER seen on television.
Having raced Karts for over seven years - winning National and Island titles on tarmac and dirt - Cressey is no stranger to close and aggressive racing.
What really impressed the enthusiasts though, was the fact that there actually WAS some passing! And that the race didn't need pit stops to add the required level of 'excitement.'
Melbourne driver James Manderson looks set to win the 2002 series but TimberWorld/Starion Enterprises driver Cressey is embroiled in a three-way battle for second place with Manderson's teammate Darren Palmer and Queenslander Will Power.
After winning the second race at the sixth round of the series at Melbourne's Sandown International Raceway a fortnight ago Manderson has 180 points, 36 more than Palmer (144), 48 more than third-placed Cressey (132) and 49 more than fourth-placed Power (131).
Power is the danger man as far as Cressey is concerned but the young Aucklander beat him to the line in the first race in Melbourne and has been consistently faster in qualifying and the races.
After this weekend's penultimate round there is then a month until the final round, at the big Champ Car Carnival meeting on the streets of Surfers' Paradise over the October 26 & 27 weekend.

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