F3 Cup welcomes new championship leader after 26 car Silverstone Shootout

15/05/2012 - The F3 Cup has its third championship leader after as many meetings with Chris Dittmann topping the points standings.

15/05/2012 - The F3 Cup has its third championship leader after as many meetings with Chris Dittmann topping the points standings following a huge 26 car entry at the Silverstone Shootout (12/13 May).

After 21 drivers took part in the last round at Donington, the championship grew again at Silverstone with 26 drivers entered a new record. David Scott, Jeremy Timms, Winston Graham, Alf Skeels, Richard Purcell and James Simons all made their F3 Cup 2012 debuts, but the weekend belonged to Dittmann and Louis Hamilton-Smith. The pair shared the victories, becoming the third and fourth different winners of the season from six races. Tewkesbury's Dittmann now leads the championship and the race for the FIA Formula Two prize test drive by 17 points from Omicron Motorsport's Tristan Cliffe in second, with Cambridgeshire's Linton Stutely in third.

 New championship leader Dittmann said: "To be honest I didn't expect to be leading the championship at this stage but to win race one outright and the second in race two was an awesome result for the team. I had been intending only to do a few races but I want to win the championship now."

The weekend began with arguably the most exciting and close qualifying session since the F3 Cup's inception with a second covering the top 10 drivers. Dittmann snatched the pole position in the dying minutes of the session by 0.062 seconds from Cliffe with the top 17 split by only 1.7 seconds. After sitting out the last round at Donington, Hamilton-Smith bounced back on his return guiding last year's winning car to third on the grid just ahead of Enigma Motorsport's Linton Stutely. Unfortunately engine issues for Newcastle's James Cross forced him out of the session and the two races.

Dittmann triumphed in race one but he was made to work hard for the victory as the 25 car grid produced battles up and down the field in a thrilling opener. Hamilton-Smith made the best start and he leapt into the lead on the opening lap before Dittmann and Stutely capitalised on a Hamilton-Smith mistake at Brooklands, allowing the pair through. Dittmann began to open up a lead but was under pressure from both Stutely and the recovering Hamilton-Smith but he managed to hold off the pair to take the chequered flag. A fascinating three car battle for fourth developed involving Gino Ussi, Cliffe and Timms which was eventually won by Ussi. Timms spun late on dropping to eighth at the flag while debutant Scott enjoyed an impressive drive from the back of the grid to ninth. Leighton Buzzard's James Simons won the Masters Class on his first run out.

Hamilton-Smith proved to be untouchable in the second race as he stormed to a light-to-flag victory, finishing ahead of Dittmann and former Formula Renault champion Timms. The field were unable to match Hamilton-Smith's pace but there was plenty of action in the midfield. Benjamin Harvey just held off Cliffe, Scott and Mark Harrison for fourth, while Stutely produced a stunning drive from the pit lane to finish eighth. Simons claimed an impressive double win in the Masters Class pipping James Ledamun to the flag.      

The Teams Championship remains delicately poised with just five points splitting the top three teams. Strong performances by Nick Robinson, Benjamin Harvey and Stuart Wiltshire helped Mark Bailey Racing move to the top of the standings but they are just five points ahead of Omicron Motorsport and Chris Dittmann Racing, who are tied on 160 points.   

The championship heads to the notorious Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium for rounds seven and eight on June 15-17.

 F3 Cup Silverstone Shootout Race 1 Top 10

1. Chris Dittmann (Trophy) 20 laps
2. Linton Stutely (Trophy) +6.538s
3. Louis Hamilton-Smith (Cup) +13.061s
4. Gino Ussi (Cup) +17.478s
5. Tristan Cliffe (Cup) +22.154s
6. Mark Harrison (Cup) +22.996
7. Nick Robinson (Cup) +25.604s
8. Jeremy Timms (Trophy) +30.283s
9. David Scott (Cup) +39.202s
10. Alf Skeels (Trophy) +40.215s

F3 Cup Silverstone Shootout Race 2 Top 10

1. Louis Hamilton-Smith (Cup) 19 laps 
2. Chris Dittmann (Trophy) +7.525s
3. Jeremy Timms (Trophy) +9.814s
4. Benjamin Harvey (Cup) +16.245s
5. Tristan Cliffe (Cup) +16.308s
6. David Scott (Cup) +17.268s
7. Mark Harrison (Cup) +22.201s
8. Linton Stutely (Trophy) +22.586s
9. Dave Karaskas (Trophy) +33.394s
10. Nick Robinson (Cup) +33.807s


Drivers and teams interested in joining the 2012 F3 Cup should contact championship co-ordinator Simon Davey on 07770 368648, email f3cup@msvracing.co.uk. For all the latest news and further announcements visit www.f3cup.co.uk. Follow F3 Cup on twitter at www.twitter.com/f3cup.