Dominant Khani secures impressive win on F3 Cup debut

18/08/2012 - Koroush Khani made no mistakes as he converted his pole position into an impressive race win on his F3 Cup debut.

18/08/2012 - Koroush Khani made no mistakes as he converted his pole position into an impressive race win on debut in the F3 Cup at a scorching Brands Hatch GP circuit.

After making a strong start Khani never looked back and it was only Linton Stutely who could keep the Iranian in sight as he stormed to victory. The battle for third proved to be intense but Gino Ussi managed to hold off Louis Hamilton-Smith for the final spot on the podium. However, the championship battle took an interesting twist with Chris Dittmann suffering a retirement, while title leader Tristan Cliffe came home in fifth.

The scorching conditions experienced in qualifying remained for the race which made it a battle of attrition for the drivers. FIA Formula Two driver Khani made no mistakes at the start and he led the field as they streamed into Paddock Hill Bend for the first time. Stutely maintained his position but an impressive start from Ussi saw him move into third with a great move around the outside of Chris Dittmann at Druids. Hamilton-Smith was fifth with Cliffe all over his rear win in sixth.

There was frantic action behind in the midfield but at the front Khani began open up an advantage from Stutely, as the pair edged away from the rest of the field. Dittmann soon found himself trying to find a way past Ussi for a couple of laps before a mistake from the Tewkesbury racer saw him spin off into retirement at Dingle Dell.

The top six pulled a gap on the rest of the field with Magic Motorsport's Mark Harrison trying to reel the pack in lying in seventh. All eyes soon turned to the battle for eighth with a train of cars behind Robbie Watts. Chris Needham managed to pass the Essex driver on lap six at Druids, but the pair collided at Graham Hill Bend sending Needham to the rear of the field. Watts recovered but a broken track rod saw him spin out at Clark Curve two laps later.

Meanwhile at the front Khani moved into an unassailable lead with Stutely comfortably in second. The scrap for third remained undecided with Hamilton-Smith now piling the pressure on Ussi.

The midfield battle continued to rage with Neil Harrison, Jeremy Timms, James Abbott, Nick Robinson, Stuart Wiltshire, Mark Terry and Prajesh Shah enjoying a great scrap.

In the end, nobody could stop Khani as he took the chequered flag from Stutely and Ussi. Hamilton-Smith came home in fourth ahead of Cliffe, M Harrison, Timms, Terry, Robinson and Neil Harrison, who rounded out the top 10.

A delighted race winner Khani said: "It was a great debut and I'm glad to be here. The car has been perfect and I must say thanks to the team for that. I'm feeling confident for race two."

Second placed Stutely revealed he found the conditions quite difficult but was happy to come home in second, he said: "Kourosh is in a different class. It was a good race and I think the key to it was the first lap. Its more difficult on the driver rather than the car in this heat. Its a lot more difficult than when it is cool thats for sure even. If you open the visor it doesn't cool you down."                  

A return to the podium was just what Ussi was looking for, he said: "In many ways my dry season starts here as I think we have found that setup for the dry conditions. We have been struggling for a set up in these conditions. Today we were on pace with the top guys. It is a lovely feeling to race on the Grand Prix circuit. This is a fabulous circuit and you need such a mixture of skills. I love it."  

F3 Cup Brands Hatch GP Race One Results        

1. Kourosh Khani, Lanan Racing, Cup 15 laps
2. Linton Stutely, Enigma Motorsport, Trophy, +14.404s
3. Gino Ussi, Grays Motorsport, Cup +18.892s
4. Louis Hamilton-Smith, Cup +23.780s
5. Tristan Cliffe, Omicron Motorsport, Cup +32.156s
6. Mark Harrison, Magic Motorsport, Cup +1min.04.341s
7. Jeremy Timms, Topmarx Racing, Trophy +1min.16.219s
8. Mark Terry, Lanan Racing, Cup, +1min.24.821s
9. Nick Robinson, Mark Bailey Racing, Cup, +1min.26.214s
10. Neil Harrison, Magic Motrorsport, Cup,  +1min.27.197s
11. Prajesh Shah, Chris Dittmann Racing, +1min.27.792s
12. James Abbott, Cup, +1min.40.160s
13. Stuart Wiltshire, Mark Bailey Racing, Cup, 1min.43.592s
14. Tony Bishop, Omicron Motorsport, Cup, +1lap 
15. Dave Karaskas, Masters,  +1lap
16. Chris Needham Cup, +1lap
17. Frank Thomas, Mark Bailey Racing, Cup, +1lap

DNF Philip Austin, Trophy
DNF Chris Dittmann, Chris Dittmann Racing, Trophy
DNF Robbie Watts, Raw Power Motorsport, Cup
DNS Winston Graham, Trophy,