MSV F3 Cup drivers star at Spa
13/06/2011 - Kent driver Aaron Steele completes impressive double at daunting Belgian circuit
13/06/2011 - The MSV F3 Cup drivers showed their class keeping up with their Austrian counterparts in the latest round of the series at the challenging Spa Francorchamps circuit.
The MSV F3 Cup joined drivers from the Austria F3 Cup last weekend to make up an impressive 48 car field for two races at the famous 4.4-mile Belgian track. Despite facing drivers far more familiar with the circuit, Steele finished an impressive third overall in race one followed by an outright victory in race two. Chris Needham, Kat Impey, Matt Draper and Dave Karaskas also starred, finishing inside the top ten overall to claim podiums in class.
With the Austria F3 Cup allowing cars up to and including the 2007 regulations to take part, the MSV F3 Cup field faced a tough task to compete with their counterparts. However, the gulf in class wasn't present in qualifying, as Steele claimed third on the grid for race one. Needham was sixth and Draper was seventh overall, as the MSV F3 cars held their own around the daunting venue. Steele improved for the second qualifying session, securing a front row grid slot for race two, by setting the second fastest time. Draper was fifth quickest, Needham lined up in eighth and Kat Impey was just outside the top ten in 11th place.
Steele found himself boxed in at the start of the first race and remained in third place at the end of the opening lap. The Kent driver was unable to keep up with the leading Austria F3 Cup pair of David Hauser and Gery Hauser. A safety car neutralised their lead, but the Grays Motorsport driver couldn't mount a challenge for the lead and came home with a credible third place overall.
Further down the field, Karaskas and Impey were able to make stunning progress through the field. Karaskas started from 16th and he claimed the final place on the MSV F3 Cup podium, finishing sixth overall and one position behind Draper. Impey, who started 13th on the grid, also enjoyed the challenge, finishing fourth in class and seventh overall.
Starting from second on the grid for race two, Steele made a strong start and was hounding leader David Hauser through Eau Rouge. By the end of the lap he forged his way into the lead and began to build a gap. The 22-year-old was unable to move too far into the distance, as the safety car was deployed on lap two. Steele was forced to push hard until the chequered flag and he had to fend off the hard charging Hauser, who was just a tenth of a second behind, as the pair headed into the final lap. Needham came home second in class and fifth overall after another strong drive. Impey improved on her performance in the first race, edging out Draper by a tenth to finish third in class and sixth overall.
For full Race One results from Spa Francorchamps, please CLICK HERE.
For full Race Two results from Spa Francorchamps, please CLICK HERE.
The MSV F3 Cup heads to the Brands Hatch Indy circuit for the next round on July 16-17.