Stutely spins and still wins at Donington Park

29/04/2012 - Despite a spin Linton Stutely came through tricky wet conditions to win the first F3 Cup race of the weekend at Donington Park.

29/04/2012 - Despite a spin Linton Stutely came through tricky wet conditions to win the first F3 Cup race of the weekend at Donington Park, marking a successful championship debut for the Cambridgeshire driver.

The Enigma Motorsport man produced an impressive drive to the chequered flag although he had to work hard as a spin saw him briefly lose the lead to Mark Harrison. However, the former Formula Ford man regrouped and stormed to the flag, finishing ahead of Chris Dittmann and Tristan Cliffe.

Stutely made a good getaway from the start and he led the field into Redgate for the first time. Chris Needham made a lightening start from fourth on the grid and appeared in second on the entry to Redgate, but he unfortunately ran wide into the gravel and subsequently dropped to 17th position. Mark Harrison moved into second followed by Chris Dittmann, Benjamin Harvey and Gino Ussi. Masters Class driver James Ledamun was another driver who made a strong start, moving from the back row on the grid up to 12th position, and James Abbott quickly gained four spots to grab seventh place.

Stutley marched into a commanding lead at the end of the opening laps but there was plenty of action behind with Cliffe moving up the order, passing Ussi and Harvey in quick succession on lap three. The Omicron Motorsport driver soon moved onto the back of the battle for second involving Dittmann and Harrison.

However, Stutley's huge lead was wiped out on lap five when he suffered a spin at Coppice which gave Harrison first position. Stutely soon regrouped and he regained the lead on the same lap just before the safety car was introduced for the stricken Kat Impey, who spun at Goddards.

The leader restarted the race perfectly and he leapt into a comfortable lead while the battle for second raged between Harrison, Dittmann, Cliffe, Ussi and Harvey. Dave Karaskas was enjoying a strong run in sixth just ahead of James Cross, who was running well in his rebuilt Dallara.

As the race approached lap 10 the podium places changed as Harrison locked up and managed to get beached at the chicane. His incident forced Dittmann and Cliffe wide which allowed Ussi to challenge Cliffe for fourth. The Italian managed to find a way passed but just as he did the red flags came out due to Harrison's spin.

As a result Stutely claimed the victory from Dittmann and Cliffe on the countback. Ussi had to settle for fourth ahead of Harvey, Karaskas, Cross, Abbott, Wiltshire and the recovering Needham.

Delighted race winner Stuteley said: "It was pretty good feeling to win my first F3 Cup race. We have not had the car really working at all and didn't have any practice yesterday and we came up here without many tools and its good to win."

Second place Chris Dittmann finisher helped his championship hopes with another strong result, he said: "I'm really chuffed with the result. The team has made a few changes to the car and it worked. The conditions levels everything out a bit and the Trophy cars seem to be doing really well in the wet, it is all about the set up and the driver. Fingers crossed if Linton makes a mistake in race two I can pounce."

Cup Class winner and third place finisher Tristan Cliffe said: "It was really hard to see out there. Thankfully threre was a countback due to the red flag which gave me the third place finish. I was amazed I got the class win, I was as surprised as anyone up on the podium. It's not a bad start to the season so far. I'm fairly confident for race two."

F3 Cup Race 1 Full Results

1. Linton Stutely, (Trophy), Laps 9 
2. Chris Dittmann, (Trophy), +6.561s
3. Tristan Cliffe (Cup) +7.108s
4. Gino Ussi (Cup) +9.760s
5. Benjamin Harvey, (Cup) +15.159s
6. Dave Karaskas (Trophy) +21.024s
7. James Cross, (Cup) +21.568s
8. James Abbott, (Cup) +23.375s
9. Stuart Wiltshire, (Cup) +24.175s
10. Chris Needham, (Cup) +24.803s
11. Philip Austin, (Trophy) +26.108s
12. Stephen Clegg (Trophy) +26.418s
13. Neil Harrison, (Cup) +27.650s
14. James Ledamun, (Masters) +28.873s
15. Nick Robinson, (Cup) +32.161s
16. Matt Payne, (Cup) +33.227s
17. Prajesh Shah, (Cup) +35.530s
18. Frank Thomas, (Cup) +1 lap
19. Tony Bishop, (Cup) +1 lap

Ret: Mark Harrison
DNF: Kat Impey 

Grid for Race Two

1. Linton Stutley
2. Tristan Cliffe
3. Gino Ussi
4. Chris Dittmann
5. Benjamin Harvey
6. Mark Harrison
7. James Abbott
8. Chris Needham
9. James Cross
10. Stuart Wiltshire 
11. Dave Karaskas
12. Philip Austin
13. Stephen Clegg
14. Matt Payne
15. Tony Bishop
16. James Ledamun
17. Neil Harrison
18. Kat Impey
19. Prajesh Shah
20. Frank Thomas