Khani holds off Stutely to grab Brands GP pole position

18/08/2012 - Lanan Racing's Kourosh Khani came through an enthralling battle with Linton Stutely to secure pole position at Brands Hatch GP.

18/08/2012 - Lanan Racing's Kourosh Khani came through an enthralling battle with Linton Stutely to secure pole position on his F3 Cup debut for race one at the Brands Hatch GP circuit.

The Iranian driver, who races in the FIA Formula Two Championship, showed his class setting the initial pace in the session. However, Khani was unable to relax with Enigma Motorsport's Linton Stutely topping the timing screens. The pair traded places before Khani grabbed the pole position from Stutely and title contender Chris Dittmann. 

With clear skies and hot sunshine above, the track conditions were perfect for qualifying and the 21 car field and the drivers were quick to take advantage of the opportunity. Unfortunately Benjamin Harvey, Matt Payne and James Cross were unable to take part in the session.

Double winner from Snetterton Stutely resumed where he left off at the Norfolk circuit by setting the initial pace on his first flying lap,but a problem with his transponder soon forced him into the pits.

Khani soon found his rhythm and it wasn't long beofre he lit up the timing screens while Dittmann and championship leader Tristan Cliffe moved into provisional second and third. Ditmann was gathering pace in his Trophy Class Dallara and he posted an impressive time to grab pole by 21 thousandths of a second only for Khani to beat it seconds later.

Another driver growing in confidence was Grays Motorsport's Gino Ussi. The Italian, who last raced on the Brands Hatch GP circuit 11 years ago, showed no signs of being rusty by moving into third. Silverstone winner Louis Hamiton-Smith and Mark Harrison broke into the top six pushing Cliffe further down the order.

The battle for the midfield spots proved to be extremely close with Robbie Watts heading the pack from James Abbott, Jeremy Timms, Chris Needham, Neil Harrison and the returning Mark Terry.

Nick Robinson was the fastest of the Mark Bailey Racing runners just edging team mate Stuart Wiltshire. Prajesh Shah and Tony Bishop continued to improve throughout the session resulting in 16th and 17th spot respectively.

At the front Stutely set a handful of blistering laps which were cpaable of chalelgning Khani and for a breif momet he held the provisional pole. However in the end Khani proved to be too strong and an effort on lap 11 was enough to grab pole by seven tenths of a second from Stutely and Dittmann. Ussi was the best of the rest in fourth ahead of Hamilton-Smith, Cliffe, Mark Harrison, Watts, Abbott and Timms which completed the top 10.    

The first race of weekend begins at 16:55pm today (Saturday).                     

F3 Cup Brands Hatch GP Qualifying Results

1. Kourosh Khani, Lanan Racing, Cup 1.22.918s 
2. Linton Stutely, Enigma Motorsport, Trophy, +0.717s 
3. Chris Dittmann, Chris Dittmann Racing, Trophy +1.754s
4. Gino Ussi, Grays Motorsport, Cup, +1.780s
5. Louis Hamilton-Smith, Cup, +1.945s
6. Tristan Cliffe, Omicron Motorsport, Cup +2.927s
7. Mark Harrison, Magic Motorsport, Cup +2.935s 
8. Robbie Watts, Raw Power Motorsport, Cup, +4.361s
9. James Abbott, Cup, +4.526s
10. Jeremy Timms, Topmarx Racing, Trophy, +4.625s
11. Chris Needham, Cup, +5.017s
12. Neil Harrison, Cup, +5.169s 
13. Mark Terry, Lanan Racing, Cup, +5.216s
14. Nick Robinson, Mark Bailey Racing, Cup, +5.363s 
15. Stuart Wiltshire, Mark Bailey Racing, Cup, +5.440s 
16. Prajesh Shah, Chris Dittmann Racing, Cup, +6.864s 
17. Tony Bishop, Omicron Motorsport, Cup, +7.050s
18. Philip Austin, Trophy, +7.876s
19. Dave Karaskas, Masters, +9.620s 
20. Frank Thomas, Mark Bailey Racing, Cup, +9.744s
21. Winston Graham, Trophy,