F3 Cup championship set to heat up at Donington Park

25/04/2012 - The F3 Cup is set for its largest grid over this weekend with 21 drivers ready to line up at Donington Park.

25/04/2012 - The F3 Cup is set for its largest grid over this weekend with 21 drivers ready to line up at Donington Park hungry for points (28/29 April).

Having endured treacherous wet conditions at Oulton Park during the opening round earlier this month, the F3 Cup moves to the fast and flowing Donington Park circuit for the next instalment of the championship. Jamie Stanley dominated the meeting producing two impressive drives to claim a double victory, but the Chester man will sit out this weekend's meeting meaning the championship lead is likely to change hands at the Leicestershire venue.

Kidderminster's Mark Harrison is one driver who will be aiming to take the lead in the championship after picking up a second and fourth place finish last time out. The Magic Motorsport racer has graduated to a 2007 Dallara for the 2012 season and has adapted to the new machine quickly after a strong Oulton Park weekend and he will be keen to continue his positive start to the season.

Harrison is likely to face stiff opposition from 2011 Donington winner Chris Needham, who is lying third in the drivers standings. The Morecambe man picked up three wins last season and he showed that he has lost none of his pace over the winter in his 2002 model at the opening round.

Hot on their heels will be reigning Radical Clubman's Cup champion James Abbott, who has proved to be strong in testing, after making the step up to single seaters for this season. The 18-year-old is the youngest driver on the grid and he picked up 27 points at Oulton, his first drive in the wet behind the wheel of a single seater. Omicron Motorsport's Tristan Cliffe was unlucky not to pick up two podiums at the opening round and will certainly be challenging for victory.         

Three drivers hoping for an upturn in fortune are Grays Motorsport's Gino Ussi, Lanan Racing's Kat Impey and MBR's Stuart Wiltshire. All three have proved to have the pace to battle at the front in testing but suffered problems at Oulton, which will only increase their hunger for success this weekend.  

The F3 Cup will welcome back a familiar face this weekend in the form of Belgium's Frank Thomas, who returns to the championship with Mark Bailey Racing. Thomas made his F3 Cup debut at Spa Francorchamps last year and for the 2012 season he will pilot a Dallara F307 in the Cup Class.

The battle for the Trophy Class is set to heat up too with the absence of Stanley as Chris Dittmann, Dave Karaskas and Stephen Clegg all tied on 30 points.                  

In the Teams Championship, Magic Motorsport lead the way after opening round but they hold a slender 10 point lead from Lanan Racing. With only one drive competing for Lanan Racing in the form of Kat Impey this weekend their second place is likely to come under threat from third placed Omicron Motorsport, Mark Bailey Racing and Chris Dittmann Racing. The battle for the Teams Championship lead is arguably going to be just as fierce as the Drivers title battle.      

With the season still in its infancy, two extremely unpredictable races are expected and it will be fascinating to see who will top the championship standings come Sunday evening. Log on to www.f3cup.co.uk for all the latest news, race reports and reaction throughout the weekend. Follow all the action on twitter at www.twitter.com/f3cup.

Qualifying begins at 9:30am on Sunday with race one at 12:50pm and race two at 17:30pm. The event will once again be televised featuring on the brand new Full Speed Racing programme on Motors TV.

Donington Park Entry List      

1 Chris Needham (Cup)
2 Mark Harrison (Cup)
3 Neil Harrison (Cup)
4 Stuart Wiltshire (Cup)
7 Tony Bishop (Cup)
10 Prajesh Shah (Cup)
14 Nick Robinson (Cup)
16 Gino Ussi (Cup)
23 James Cross (Cup)
24 Matt Payne (Cup)
25 Kat Impey (Cup)
27 Tristan Cliffe (Cup)
33 Benjamin Harvey (Cup)
45 Frank Thomas (Cup)
74 James Abbott (Cup)
6 Stephen Clegg (Trophy)
8 Philip Austin (Trophy)
11 Chris Dittmann (Trophy)
58 Linton Stutely (Trophy)
77 Dave Karaskas (Trophy)
17 James Ledamun (Masters)