In a year filled with dazzling dominance and strokes of bad luck, Benalla’s Zak Best described his 2019 Kumho Tyre Super3 Series as “challenging, but character building”.
Finishing fourth overall in the Super3 Series championship following the conclusion of its final round at Sandown on September 21 and 22, Best's round results again ebbed and flowed.
In race one of the Victorian meet, Best started in the second row after qualifying third, but unfavourable weather soon clouded the race.
“It started pouring down rain,” Best said.
“I could only see the tail lights in front of me, so I was just following the car around in front of me.
“It was difficult, with the vision, my windscreen was fogged up on one side.”
Starting under a safety car, the race was eventually called after seven laps, with Best finishing fourth.
Regrouping for what was a dryer second race, Best came out of the blocks fast in an attempt to get back to his best, but soon found himself in strife.
“I had a good start to get in second and I maintained that for a while,” he said.
“But then I got passed, and I ended up in a tyre wall on turn four and finished ninth.”
With the field for the series championship thinning to what looked like a two-horse race by the end of the first day, there wasn’t much more Best could do to exit the weekend on a winning note.
“My teammate [Hamish Ribartis] was still in it,” Best said.
“But the only thing I could do was go out and try win the race.
“But it didn’t go to plan.
“It wasn’t a very exciting last race.”
Best would eventually cross the finish line in fourth in the final race of the year, before ultimately finishing fifth for the round, and fourth for the series.
Reflecting on a campaign that promised so much at the start of the year - following a round victory at Phillip Island and opening race wins at Winton - but became harder to resurrect after a series of car issues in the all-important race three of both Winton and Queensland Motorway, Best said he often tried to put results behind him and look forward, but conceded it had been frustrating at times.
“It was definitely an up and down year,” Best said.
“Most of it was out of our hands, and you move on to the next race. But it does make the championship harder.
“It was definitely a character-building year.”
With the conclusion of the 2019 racing season, Best is now looking ahead to what 2020 will hold for him and his team.
“I’d like to thank my sponsors for this year,” Best said.
“We are now looking to finalise plans for next year and finding sponsors.”
And we could be seeing Best take another critical step up in his racing development next year, with the Dunlop Super2 Series firmly in his sights.
“The goal is Super2,” he said.
“We just need to clarify with them.
“But (in the off-season) I’ll be training flat out, mostly off-track. And we might have one of two test days.
“If I could get top 10 (in Super2) next year I’d be very happy.”