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Madeline Stewart


Velocity Magazines Half Price Parts Media Driver debutant Madeline Stewart applied a cautious approach to her circuit racing debut at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit today. The 18-year-old New Zealander finished 19th out of 23 starters in the opening race in the 2019 Super 3 V8 Touring Car Series.

Stewart’s family chose the Super 3 category as a means to ‘fly under the radar’ in her first touring car event but were surprised to see the sudden growth after the category’s alignment with the Virgin Australia Supercar and Dunlop Super 2 Championship.

Madeline was far from overawed by her introduction to the category and was left disappointed with her 15th grid position for race 1 after posting a top 10 time in Friday practice. She was set for a final flying lap in qualifying but was forced to abort the attempt after she had been beaten by the chequered flag as she crossed the start line.

Madeline was 6th fastest in Super3 Series practice 1 at Phillip Island – Photos: Velocity Magazine (Darin Mandy)

“Qualifying was quite challenging as the track was quite wet when we went out. We went out of new tyres so they took time to get going,” Madeline Stewart stated. “The track was drying through the session so the lap times were getting quicker every lap. I was a bit unlucky in that I was the first car to get the checkered flag. That meant I did one less lap than most. I was in 9th when the flag came out but dropped to 15th by the time everyone finished their lap.”

She excelled off the line in her first race start and was quickly up to teammate Josh Fife, who was slow to get away. Stewart backed off to avoid contact and quickly lost track position as she was swamped by the cars behind.

“In race 1 I lost a lot of time off the start,” Stewart explained. “My initial launch was good but I got out of the throttle when it got a bit messy around the car that stalled. That meant I bogged and got passes by quite a few cars. I spent a lot of the race catching up and with all the yellow flags at turn 4 found it a bit difficult to move forward.”

Madeline is racing the Brad Jones Racing Commodore in Super3 this year. Photo: Velocity Magazine (John Morris)

Madeline slide down the order and then spent the majority of the race in a dice with Shane Hunt for 17th. Stewart eventually brought her BJR Commodore home in 18th.

It was a steep learning curve for Madeline Stewart with a long list of ‘firsts’; from first qualifying and first race start and first Super 3 to her race at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. A list of achievements that Madeline Stewart is hoping to add to on Sunday.

“I learned a lot today and had a really good debrief with team, Madeline said. “I’ve had my first qualifying, my first race  and my first time with slicks on a damp track. I’ve got lots of firsts out of the way so I’m really happy to move forward from here.”

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