Da Costa grabs pole but Dittmann shines

27/10/12 - Red Bull F1 test driver Antonio Felix da Costa secured pole position in treacherous wet conditions at Snetterton 300 today (27 October).

27/10/12 - Red Bull F1 test driver Antonio Felix da Costa showed the reason why he is set for career in Formula One by securing pole position in treacherous wet conditions at Snetterton 300 today (27 October).

The Portuguese racer starred in an interupted qualifying session to secure pole, while F3 Cup championship leader Chris Dittmann moved a step closer to the title edging Lotus F1 test driver Kevin Korjus to a place on the front row.

Minutes before the start of the session the heavens opened making track conditions extreemely slippery presenting a challenge to the 21 strong F3 Cup field. Da Costa lead from the front setting the pace with his very first effort, which was expected following the news this week that he will test the Red Bull F1 car this season.

Spins became hard to avoid and many drivers suffered in the early stages including Neil harrison who brought out the red flag. Once qualifying resumed Da Costa lit up the timing screens with a 2.08.494s lap. Korjus, making his Snetterton debut, was second before Dittmann produced an impressive time to split the pair.

Marlk Bailey Racing's Stuart Wiltshire impressed early on holding fourth position before title contender Cliffe put in a strong time. Louis Hamilton-Smith soon topped that effort while Mark Harrison, James Abbott and Chris Needham went faster than Wiltshire and Cliffe.

The other F3 Cup title contender Gino Ussi took a tentative approach but this proved not to work in his favour as the session was brought to an end prematurely due to an incident involving David Scott, with him only 11th on the grid. Prajesh Shah was 12th behind Jeremy Timms, who rounded out the top 10.  

Dittmann's second on the grid ahs certainly given him an advantage over his rivals Cliffe and Ussi ahead of the first crucial race of the final round. Race one is due to begin at 09:55am.

Pole man Da Costa said: "It was good. I was here in the summer with a different car so I knew my way round which was good and helped. It was tricky and the conditions didn't help but we did it and put a good lap together to get pole."    

A pleased Dittmann said: "I spun on my out lap so it was difficult out there. I pushed hard and luckily the lap was good enough for second overall. Splitting the two F1 test drivers was a big surprise. It feels very good to do that. To beat someone of that calibur is a great feeling." 

F3 Cup - Snetterton 300 Qualifying Full Results

1. Antonio Felix Da Costa, Carlin, (Inv) 2.08.494s
2. Chris Dittmann, Chris Dittmann Racing, (Trophy) +9.115s
3. Kevin Korjus, Double R, (Inv) +9.946s
4. Louis Hamilton-Smith, (Cup) +12.041s  
5. Mark Harrison, Magic Motorsport (Cup) +13.701s 
6. James Abbott, Lanan Racing (Cup) +14.492s 
7. Chris Needham, (Cup) +14.643s
8. Stuart Wiltshire, Mark Bailey Racing (Cup) +15.271s 
9. Tristan Cliffe, Omicron Motorsport (Cup) +16.599s 
10. Jeremy Timms, Chris Dittmann Racing (Trophy) +17.489s
11. Gino Ussi, Grays Motorsport, (Cup) +17.572s
12. Prajesh Shah, Chris Dittmann Racing, (Cup) +22.908s
13. Tony Bishop, Omicron Motorsport, (Cup) +23.293s 
14. Dave Karaskas, DKS Racing, (Trophy) +25.821s 
15. Philip Austin, (Trophy) +26.908s 
16. Frank Thomas, Mark Bailey Racing, (Cup) +33.940s
17. Juan Serda, Techspeed Motorsport (Masters) +55.872s 

DNF Nick Robinson, Mark Bailey Racing (Cup)
DNF David Scott, Chris Dittmann Racing (Cup)
DNF James Ledamun, (Trophy)
DNF Neil Harrison, Magic Motorsport (Cup)