Anthony the transformer

WHEN Chris Anthony woke up on Saturday morning he was a little known Cooma teenager and Australian Formula 3 Championship rookie, but by the time he went to sleep at the end of the day he had been transformed.

He was the man who held the official, outright Mount Panorama track record.

Just two months after New Zealand talent Shane van Gisbergen clocked a record two minutes, 3.8506 seconds lap in a McLaren MP412C GT3 during the Bathurst 12 Hour, Anthony set a new mark.

His 10th lap in the opening race of the Formula 3 series' Bathurst round is one Anthony will remember for some time as he covered the 6.213 kilometre circuit of Mount Panorama in 2:03.8245.

To make his afternoon even better, two laps later he took the chequered flag for his first win in the series.

It was also the 18-year-old's first race at Mount Panorama.

"I can't believe it. Coming into this weekend I was just hoping to be quick and chase the two series leaders. So to win is insane and to get the lap record as well is awesome," Anthony said.

"I was just trying to be consistent and build a gap in front and the time actually kept dropping and dropping. I didn't think about the lap record the whole time until my team boss Mark said to me 'You have broken the track record.'

"Then he told me it was the outright record, I thought 'Oh wow'. Just the fact that it was at Bathurst makes the win so special, no-one can take that away from me now."

Saturday's race helped make up for what was a disappointing start to the Bathurst Motor Festival for Anthony and his fellow Formula 3 drivers.

Friday's practice session was red flagged after Ben Gerekowski hit the wall at Forrest Elbow, the impact registering 4.9G.

Then in qualifying after two flying laps, Ricky Capo hit the inside kerb at the entrance to The Dipper which unbalanced his Dallara F307 and sent him crashing into the opposite wall.

That saw a red flag and while the session was extended to give the drivers another chance to improve their position, Roland Legge spun out at Murray's Corner and put his entry into the gravel on the next lap to effectively end qualifying.

It was series leader Simon Hodge was had managed the quickest qualifying lap to grab pole, but his BRM team-mate Anthony was beside him in position two.

Hodge got the better of the start in the 12-lap race and led the way up Mountain Straight, but Anthony was quick to pull off a passing move.

"He got me into the first corner, I got a dodgy start and almost stalled," Anthony, who arrived in Bathurst sitting third in the championship, said.

"I followed him up the hill and managed to get a move in at turn two and capitalised and got him. As the race went on I was thinking about tyres and leading the race."

While round one winner Hodge had a newer model Mygale M11 and prior experience racing at Bathurst as part of a Formula Ford field, once Anthony took the lead he did not surrender it.

Behind him it was Gersekowski who had the best early pace as he worked his way up from fifth on the grid into third.

He clocked a then Formula 3 Bathurst lap record of 2:04.2302 on his third trip around the Mount, but that mark did not last long.

Anthony's Dallara F307 owned the class record after lap seven and he lowered the mark again on lap eight as he pushed his lead out to almost five and a half seconds.

Gersekowski had managed to get around Hodge on lap eight as the two championship leaders staged a good battle, but no-one was going to catch the Cooma whiz.

The former NSW Formula Ford champion clocked the outright lap record soon after and while he eased off a little in the run to the line, he still was comfortable in notching up his maiden Formula 3 victory.

He finished some two seconds clear of Gerekowski with Hodge claiming third.

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