Linton laps up the conditions to claim impressive double

29/04/2012 - Former British Formula Ford driver Linton Stutely produced yet another dazzling performance to record a convincing double win.

29/04/2012 - Former British Formula Ford driver Linton Stutely produced yet another dazzling performance to record a convincing double win in truly challenging conditions at Donington Park.

The poleman suffered from wheel spin at the start but that was his only issue as he completed a near flawless drive to win round four of the 2012 F3 Cup in horrific conditions at the Leicestershire circuit. Tristan Cliffe secured another class win coming home in second after fending off Gino Ussi in what was a cracking battle for second. However, two class wins for Omicron Motorsport's Cliffe saw him take the lead in the overall championship standings.

Despite suffering from wheel spin Stutely managed to hold the lead as the field streamed into Redgate. However, further behind Stuart Wiltshire stalled on the grid and Stephen Clegg was unable to avoid contact, but the pair both got going and rejoined the race unscathed. Meanwhile at the front, Cliffe slotted into second with Chris Dittmann all over the back of his rear win in third.

Ussi and Benjamin Harvey joined the battle but it Stutely who opened up a commanding lead after just two laps. The conditions really tested the drivers and unfortunately Masters Class runner James Ledamun went off at Redgatre retiring from the race. He was soon joined by Tony Bishop, who spun at the Chicane and Chris Needham, who made an uncharacteristic error at Hollywood.

This allowed James Abbott, Mark Harrison and James Cross to move up the order into the top eight. As the rain worsened Abbott, Cross and Impey all endured spins, Cross and Abbott were able to recover, while Impey was forced into retirement.

Meanwhile at the front Stutely stromed into an unassailable lead and the battle continued for the remaining two podium positions with Cliffe holding off Ussi.

However, in the end it was Stutely, who claimed an impressive double win from Cliffe and Ussi, but it was Cliffe who left Donington leading the championship standings outright from fourth place finisher Dittmann.

Mark Harrison helped his championship hopes with a fifth place finish, Harvey finished in sixth and Dave Karaskas moved into third in the title race coming home in seventh. Single seater rookie Cross came home in eighth ahead of Abbott and Neil Harrison, who rounded out the top 10.

Race winner Linton Stutely said: "It was an excellent weekend for us and I'm pleased with the result after all the problems we've had. It was really tricky especially halfway round the circuit and it's never easy but it wasn't too difficult to maintain the pace."  

New championship leader and second place finisher Tristan Cliffe said: "I like the wet it is pretty terrifying but I seem to find it less terrifying than everybody else. It was so so difficult out there and Gino kept me honest for pretty much the whole thing. It was just a case of keeping it on the island and bring the car home."  

Third placed Gino Ussi said: "It's been a fantastic weekend especially after the problems we had at Oulton Park. This was just what I needed. Linton produced unbelievable speed to win both races. It was all about being on the limit and not making errors. It was as tough as it gets when it came to the conditions. I'm chuffed with how the weekend went."       

F3 Cup Race 2 Full Results

1. Linton Stutely (Trophy) 15 laps
2. Tristan Cliffe (Cup) +53.863s
3. Gino Ussi (Cup) +58.798s
4. Chris Dittmann (Trophy) +1.02.314s
5. Mark Harrison (Cup) +1 lap
6. Benjamin Harvey(Cup) +1 lap
7. Dave Karaskas (Trophy) +1 lap
8. James Cross (Cup) +1 lap
9. James Abbott (Cup) + 1 lap
10. Neil Harrison (Cup) + 1 lap
11. Matt Payne (Cup)  + 1lap
12. Stephen Clegg (Trophy)+2 laps
13. Frank Thomas (Cup) +2 laps
14. Stuart Wiltshire (Cup) +2 laps
15. Tony Bishop (Cup) + 3 laps

DNF Kat Impey
DNF Philip Austin
DNF Prajesh Shah
DNF Chris Needham
DNF James Ledamun

The championship moves to the Silverstone national circuit on 12/13 May for round five and six.