MBR's Harvey tops the timesheets in F3 Cup practice

28/04/2012 - Mark Bailey Racing's Benjamin Harvey set the pace in the F3 Cup Free Practice session to begin round two of the season at Donington Park.

28/04/2012 - Mark Bailey Racing's Benjamin Harvey set the pace in the F3 Cup Free Practice session to begin round two of the season at Donington Park.

Harvey produced a blistering pace from the outset but in the end he only topped the timesheets by a slim 0.168 seconds from single seater rookie and reigning Radical Clubman's Cup champion James Abbott. The session proved to be an eventful one with 17 of the 21 car field taking to the Leicestershire circuit. Mark Harrison, Tristan Cliffe, James Ledamun and Linton Stuteley elected not to take part in the session.

The former GT Cup driver topped the time sheets early before the red flags came out for a spin by Grays Motorsport driver Gino Ussi. Once the session resumed it was fellow Mark Bailey Racing driver Stuart Wiltshire went quickest and Chris Dittmann shot up to third in the Trophy Class Dallara.

The recovering Ussi soon showed he has the pace to compete at the front this season by setting the quickest time. However, his joy was short-lived as he spun into the gravel and he took no further part in the session.

With four minutes of the session remaining, Harvey lit up the timing screens with another impressive effort which proved to be good enough to end the session quickest. As the session drew towards a close Abbott showed his pace and moved into second spot. He set another time which was even better, closing the margin to Harvey to just 0.168 seconds. Wiltshire remioned in third just ahaead of Ussi.

Veteran Dave Karaskas topped the Trophy Class just three tenths of a second quicker than Dittmann. Oulton Park podium finisher Chris Needham could only set the seventh fastes time ahead Tony Bishop, Stephen Clegg and Kat Impey.

Matt Payne and Frank Thomas, who were making their season debuts, were 11th and 16th respectively.

The F3 Cup qualifying session begins on Sunday at 9:30 am.

F3 Cup Free Practice Results

1. Benjamin Harvey (Cup) 1:06.856s
2. James Abbott (Cup) +0.168s
3. Stuart Wiltshire (Cup) +1.347s
4. Gino Ussi (Cup) +1.498s
5. Dave Karaskas (Trophy) +1693s
6. Chris Dittmann (Trophy) +1.962s
7. Chris Needham (Cup) +2.354s
8. Tony Bishop (Cup) +3.258s
9. Stephen Clegg (Trophy) +3.408s
10. Kat Impey (Cup) +3.540s
11. Frank Thomas (Cup) +3.859s  
12. Nick Robinson (Cup) +4.017
13. Neil Harrison (Cup) +5.971s
14. Philip Austin (Trophy) +6.245s
15. Prajesh Shah (Cup) +8.819s
16. Matt Payne (Cup) +9.286s
17. James Cross (Cup) +11.721s